Design Guidelines Submitted by the Valley Community Preservation Commission to New Mexico State Highway and Transportation Department (VCPC's consultant Walter Kulash) --Glatting Jackson Kercher Anglin Lopez Rinehart, Inc.--
In response to your request for additional information in one area of refinement (frontage and access road opportunities), we are providing a more comprehensive listing of guidelines that deal with not only that one issue (access), but with the full scope of refinements that address our three major concerns; specifically, that the road's design:
1. Fix the safety problems.
2. Improve the value of the surrounding community.
3. Repair the damage done by the last road rebuilding.
Guidelines for design refinements that address these concerns are as follows:
A. FIX SAFETY PROBLEMS
1. Improve Safety at Access Points
- Consolidate driveways -- Guideline: Connect all driveways to well-engineered access points. Wide variety of road, ROW and easement types possible (See Figure 1). Parsons Brinckerhoff has already started this consolidation. Current goal: vigorous expansion of concept.
- Locate consolidated access points -- Guideline: site consolidated access points at best places for mainline sight distance, grade, etc. and with good connectivity to properties affected by deleted access.
- Simplify access points -- Goal: Develop special intersection designs that address problem of mainline US 70 on steep fill. Can we go to a rural highway version of a "split diamond"? (See Figure 1).
- Provide auxiliary lanes or pavement space for turning movements -- Goal: short left-turn bays at consolidated access points. Can we landscape or "hardscape" the unused pavement width (Figure 1)? Can we widen out the intersection to provide a rural traffic calming measure at "T" intersections (Figure 1)? Can we simply "flare" the edge striping into the paved shoulder to provide deceleration/acceleration space for right turns (Figure 1)?
- Provide turnarounds -- Guideline: provide locations for safe "U" turns, thereby reducing conflicting movements at intersections. Are there good locations for these turnarounds? Can they incorporate mainline lane deflection, thereby becoming rural traffic calming features? Would a roundabout at the US 70 - US 380 intersection furnish a good opportunity for a turnaround for US 70 traffic?
2. Improve Safety for Through Vehicles on US 70
- Install cross-sectional elements for safety -Figure 2- Guideline: incorporate cross-section elements that narrow the apparent width of the road, thereby reducing vehicle speed. Possible elements (Figure 2): double, widely spaced rows of raised pavement markers along centerline; pavement-edge raised pavement markers; contrasting pavement color for shoulder; partial concealment of guardrail by vegetation; containment of lower backslopes by decorative wall.
- Reconfigure US 70/US 380 intersection -- Goal: Better safety, reduce speeds on US 70; give "signature" element to road. How about a roundabout here, for all of the above reasons?
- Install rural traffic calming -- Goal: reduce design speed on US 70. Options: widely split "T" intersections; all cross-section elements (above); roundabout at US 380 intersection (above); "U-turn" splitter islands; restoration of roadside trees.
- Limit commerce through zoning or purchase -- Goal: manage access along US 70, channel retail activity to commercial hamlets or other safe sites. Actions: buy fronting properties with problematic access and recycle into needed road features (turnarounds, "T" intersections, enforcement pullover areas, etc.). Provide full range of "town center" road features into commercial hamlets (Figure 3).
- Design animal crossings -- Guideline: warn drivers, reduce speed, reduce chance of driver over-reaction. Actions: signs, animal path grade separation, short segment of median (to reduce speed and prevent head-on collisions. What did wildlife specialists say on this subject?
- Establish special enforcement district -- Goal: 20-30 mile segment with continuing intensified enforcement. Actions: state police/county sheriff special enforcement unit; enforcement pullover areas and regulatory and advisory signs.
- Deploy ITS safety elements -- Guideline: use state-of-the-art Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS) capability to improve safety and driver behavior. Actions: speed advisory radar; speed-actuated warning flashers; camera speed enforcement (non-citation prior to sate adoption, citation thereafter), permanent data gathering stations to spot trends in speeds, truck use, etc.
B. IMPROVE THE VALUE OF THE SURROUNDING COMMUNITY
3. Build Village Centers
- Reduce speeds at village center areas -- Goal: 35-45 mph speed where commerce is present. Actions: urban section road; median section; landscaping (see Figure 3).
- Install traffic calming -- Goal: 35-40 mph in centers. Actions: crosswalks; roadside parking; medians; landscaping; intersecting streets.
4. Bring Valley Qualities to Users of US 70
- Repair previous damage -- (See Part C, all elements).
- US 70/US 380 intersection -- Guideline: Make this location into "icon" of valley. Actions: Roundabout, public art, landscaping, visitor wayside, information wayside.
- Gateway points -- Guideline: provide "signature" of special qualities of the valley. Actions: hardscape; public art; road cross-section changes; signs; landscaping.
5. Make Valley a Better Eco-tourism Destination
- Improve safety -- (see Part A, all elements). Visitors are likely to be repelled by current perception of traffic danger.
- Show a valley signature to travelers on US 70 -- Guideline: Impress, on travelers on US 70, the specialness of the 20-30 mile segment in the valley. Actions: directional signing; customized "trail blazers"; pullouts, scenic interpreted overlooks; distinctive milepost markers' use of indigenous materials (stonework, timber, fencing, walls, adobe) for road and roadside elements.
- Public art -- Guideline: Convey, to travelers on US 70, that valley is a center of southwestern art. Action: place signature pieces at important (or to-be-important) points along road; make public art an element in back slope reclamation.
C. REPAIR DAMAGE DONE BY LAST ROAD REBUILDING
6. Repair Landscape along Existing US 70
- Repair back slopes -- Guideline: reduce scars to valley from existing road. Actions: terracing; low retaining walls (Figure 2); regrading tops of cuts to resemble natural ground; vegetation pockets.
- Reduce guard rail blight -- Actions: painting, textured resurfacing; removal of unwarranted sections; regrading to eliminate need; replacement with more natural looking materials; partial screening by landscaping.
- Repair fill slopes -- Guideline: mitigate damage done by fill for existing road. Actions: slope-top vegetation, terracing, removal of superfluous access points and their fill; relocation of acequias; slope-side vegetation.
- Restore low vegetation -- Guideline: restore low (less than 4" caliper) vegetation to locations, including within clear zones, where appropriate to natural appearance.
- Restore roadside trees -- Guideline: major effort to produce roadside tree plantings and partial overhang.
7. Shield Valley from Noise and Headlight Glare -- Guideline: reduce noise and glare levels from existing US 70. Actions: low, aesthetically pleasing noise barriers; low vegetation; pavement surface.
8. Restore Acequias -- Guideline: full restoration of pre-US 70 network, or equivalent mileage where restoration is physically impossible; planting/replanting of acequias in traditional manner.
9. Repair Damage from Existing Road Fill -- Guideline: mitigate, to modern standards of community value, the impact of the existing road fill on adjacent properties. Actions: new, more appealing connecting roads (see part A); moving structures; repairing acequias (above); restoring vegetation; restoring historic fabric and connections.
10. Restore Continuity of Old Road -- Guideline: make longer distance (2-5) mile travel possible on continuous segments of the old road. Actions: (See Part A).
Glatting Jackson Kercher Anglin Lopez Rinehart, Inc.
To Valley Community Preservation Commission
Page last updated: May 22, 2002