As part of Longmont’s effort to enhance access to multimodal transportation throughout the city, Longmont plans to implement a “road diet” on South Sunset Street from Creekside Drive to Nelson Road. When implemented well, road diets improve access to multimodal transportation without a significant impact to existing traffic operations. South Sunset Street currently has two travel lanes in each direction and no bike lanes. Using road restriping, the number of travel lanes will be reduced to one in each direction along with the addition of a two-way center left-turn lane and bike lanes. These changes will improve both pedestrian safety by increasing the distance between the sidewalk and traffic, and driver safety by reducing the number of conflict points.
In addition to the changes above, a dedicated northbound right-turn lane will be added to the southern entrance to Sunset Middle School to mitigate the queuing in the travel lane that occurs during pick up and drop off hours.
Current configuration Projected configuration
Traffic along South Sunset Street will be maintained throughout the duration of the project, however, affected parties can expect minor traffic delays and temporary lane shifts during construction hours (7 a.m. to 6 p.m.)
Implementation of these changes will be phased over the next couple years. The first phase will be constructed alongside the asphalt and concrete rehabilitation of South Sunset Street from Lefthand Drive to Ken Pratt Boulevard. A letter providing details on what to expect with asphalt and concrete rehabilitation was sent to affected properties earlier this year. This portion of the project is scheduled to begin in early June and expected to be completed by mid-August. The remaining phases of the project (Creekside Drive to Lefthand Drive & Ken Pratt Boulevard to Nelson Road) are scheduled to begin in late 2019 and spring/summer 2020, respectively.
Frequently Asked Questions
A typical Road Diet strategy is to reduce the number of lanes on a roadway cross-section. The most common configuration turns a four-lane road (two lanes each direction) into a two-lane road with a left-turn lane in the middle. The Sunset Street project will convert the existing four-lane section into a two-lane road with a center left-turn lane.
Implementing Road Diets improves safety, mobility, connectivity and accessibility for all users, including motorists, bicyclists and pedestrians. A four-lane undivided roadway has increased opportunities for crashes due to the left-lane being used for both through movements and left turns. By separating left-turners into their own lane, the number of vehicle-to-vehicle crashes are reduced.
The costs associated with implementing a Road Diet are typically minimal. The Sunset Street Road Diet will be implemented as part of the City’s yearly repaving program reducing the cost even further.
- Road Diets reduce rear-end and left-turn crashes through the addition and use of center left-turn lanes.
- Road Diets reduce right-angle crashes as side street motorists cross only three lanes of traffic instead of four which simplifies driver gap selection.
- A reduction in the number of through lanes can calm traffic and reduce vehicle weaving.
- Road Diets reduce the number of traffic lanes that a pedestrian needs to cross, which reduces their exposure to traffic.
- There are fewer blind spots for pedestrians with one lane in each direction which results in less sight blockage by cars.
- Road Diets provide an opportunity to install dedicated bike lanes, which are separated from motorized traffic, within an existing roadway cross section.