Anyone who has crossed the intersection at 9th Street and Highway 6 will know what a hazard it is. Very few people know how to properly use the intersection and there are regularly accidents there. As a response to this, the City of Golden has decided to make some changes. This led to a meeting on Monday, April 14, 2014. People from all over Golden, but particularly from near 19th Street, gathered at the Fossil Trace Clubhouse to talk about the intersection.
The primary goal of the meeting was to hear what locals felt about the intersection and how it should be changed. This is incredibly useful because it shows that the City of Golden is concerned with what its residents think about any potential building plans. The entire meeting was engineered to try and hear what the people thought. This was done by having large sheets of paper on the walls with various questions on them. Golden residents were given sticky notes that they could write on and then post to the walls. There were other questions that were structured more like a vote and in those cases, residents were given stars to place next to the option that they preferred. There were also representatives scattered through the room, all willing to answer questions and tell you about the City’s plans.
The first sheet of paper asked: List three things about the current intersection that you find the most problematic. The majority of the people who commented on this section discussed the safety issues associated with the intersection. Two of the biggest of these are the blinking yellow traffic lights and the red lights. There is a serious problem with people running red lights when driving down Highway 6. Drivers will simply breeze right through them, seemingly with no care at all. This can be incredibly hazardous and is one of the leading causes of accidents at the intersection. The other big problem is the misunderstandings surrounding yellow flashing lights. No one is quite sure what they mean so they just do whatever they want. Flashing yellow lights mean proceed with caution and they occur when pedestrians have the right of way to cross. This means that when pedestrians are crossing, cars must stop but if there are no pedestrians then they are free to turn. Most people do not understand this so will either drive dangerously close to pedestrians or sometimes yell at pedestrians from their car windows. The dangers posed to pedestrians and bikers where some of the things residents were most concerned about.
Next, they wanted to know what people used the intersection for. The primary responses said that they used it as a means to get to and from work and home but there were also people who said they used it to get to downtown Golden. There were even some other Mines students who showed up and said they use it to get to school, as anyone who lives at Mines Park has to. This is convenient to know which turns are used the most on the intersection but because it was a local Golden meeting, it did not take into account the people that are commuting longer distances and just passing through Golden.
The third question asked residents what the three most important things that they should focus on when changing the intersection. Most residents brought up solutions to the same things that concerned them in the first question. It seemed to be important to everyone that pedestrians and bikers would be safe from drivers. As well as, changes to the turn lanes so that there would no longer be the hazardous yellow flashing light. There were also concerns about noise during construction. This was especially concerning because many of the people at the meeting live in the the area right by the intersection so would be the most impacted by any noise. Overall though, the improvements focused on safety because it is such a dangerous intersection.
Questions four and five were both voting style questions. Five asked people whether they would prefer faster construction with more possible disturbances or slower work with less disruptions. People were able to vote on this by placing stars in either category. Overall, it seemed as though people would prefer a faster construction time even though it may be more disruptive to their routine. Question four asked if people preferred easier access to the area on 19th to the West, the residential areas and Mines Park, or to the East, Campus and access to downtown Golden. This was a tricky question because many of the people at the meeting lived in the residential area but commuted to downtown. This is also concerning to students who live at Mines Park because they need easy access to Mines Park but also to Campus. No matter what happens one of these areas will be more disrupted so the city will undoubtedly have a hard time choosing which one because residents were not keen to see either one impacted.
Once residents had expressed their opinions for all of the questions and left sticky notes and stars all over the questions on the wall, they were asked to fill out a survey. This survey asked residents how they were most likely to receive information about the construction and how they would prefer to hear it. They also asked what people’s priorities were in regards to construction, with options like landscaping, public art, easy access to communities, pedestrian crossings and more. There was also an option at the bottom of the survey to include your name and email. Anyone who filled in this information would be placed on a mailing list so that they could receive any news about the construction and any dates and times for follow up meetings.
The City is not yet at a point where they are ready to begin construction but they have begun gathering important information about priorities and there are already a few plans in the work. There is no doubt that the intersection at 9th Street and Highway 6 will be changed soon, but there is no concrete idea yet about what it will be changed to.
Overall, it was a very useful meeting that allowed the City of Golden to get a better feel for how the local residents felt about the possible changes to the intersection at 9th Street and Highway 6. The city was able to gather some very important information that should help them to make a better and more informed decision about how to change the intersection. Residents of the area and anyone who is interested will be very intrigued to see how the planning moves forward.