Ideas for Improved Lamar Main Street Explored


Downtown Lamar

Downtown Lamar

CDOT, Colorado Department of Transportation, measures Main Street in downtown Lamar, 100 feet wide, from door to door for store front businesses.  A group of Lamar residents were asked to make improvements for those 100 feet during a meeting held by Britina Associates, a health-oriented consulting firm hired by the City of Lamar, seeking ways to improve traffic and pedestrian flow as well as enhance business opportunities along Lamar’s Main Street. 

Kristin Cypher, Vice-President of Britina Design, told the audience the 100 feet is comprised of four, 12 foot wide travel lanes for vehicles; two, eight foot wide parallel parking spaces on either side of Main Street, a six foot wide median dividing the street and two, fifteen foot wide sidewalks which front the businesses on Main Street.  Total it up and it comes to 100 feet.  Cypher said CDOT will eventually rebuild Main Street in Lamar from top to bottom, beyond simply roto-milling several inches from the surface asphalt and adding a new top layer.  She said the comprehensive project, which could begin in the next two years, will be an opportunity to redesign the street to provide increased pedestrian traffic and safety, develop a buffer-zone bike route and slow traffic through the downtown area. 

Lamar City Administrator, John Sutherland, said this project “is going to require a full court press sort of approach.  It’s not going to work for us to recruit one business to come to downtown Lamar or even two.  The city has been fortunate to have some recent studies that show we need to create a shopping experience for people to change their shopping habits.  Leakage studies show that $83 M is leaving this community.  We’re not capturing all the sales, and the most recent study shows us that in fact Lamar retail trade is only capturing less than half the available retail market in this community.  To get that more than half, we have to do something different about how we do a shopping experience in Lamar.  We have to address the concept of what we think of our downtown and how we present ourselves.” 

Down Town Parking (4)

“Your downtown is a story that represents your town’s values,” Cypher told the gathering at the outset of Thursday night’s meeting, February 27, at the Rodeway Cow Palace Inn.  This meeting is one of several that were conducted through Saturday, highlighting Britina’s study of Lamar to develop a Parks, Trails and Recreation Master Plan.  Cypher said studies of cities similar to Lamar showed 80% of visitor spending is pedestrian based due to more intimate settings along specifically designed sidewalks.  Lamar, she added, has a wider Main Street than most of those other cities.  She said the 100 foot width could be revamped to allow for bike paths, more trees and benches, wider sidewalks and safer crosswalks at intersections.  Cypher said one idea would be to eliminate the six foot median and only allow one lane for north and southbound traffic with a middle lane developed for turns at intersections. 

Lamar was recently granted $1 million to develop plans following last year’s study from ULI, Urban Land Institute.  National experts spent a week in Lamar last spring, developing resident input on a list of needs to develop more recreational outlets throughout the entire city.  Lamar was divided into several sections for potential improvement and citizen input:  Downtown, Sports Hub Area, Civic Center Area, Willow Creek Area and Northside Neighborhood Area.  A more intensive, community-wide interview process will be held during spring break, between March 31 and April 4.  A series of Community Conversations will be scheduled to help residents design various neighborhood recreation areas for all age groups.  Spanish speakers will be available during all the stakeholder sessions.
By Russ Baldwin

Filed Under: BusinesscommunityEconomyFeaturedLamarProwers CountyPublic SafetyRecreationTourismTransportation


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