Improving Safety and Multimodal Function of US Highway 40
Fraser, Colorado | 2016
Like many mountain towns in Colorado, the town of Fraser is heavily impacted by its location within a resort region. A bedroom community within 30 minutes of Winter Park Ski Resort, Fraser sees strong winter and summer tourism, but also has an established year-round community. Despite a strong community feel, the town experiences many of the challenges that come with being in a resort region. A lack of affordable housing and economic diversification top the list, along with safety concerns that stem from they way Highway 40 bisects the town. Fraser also lacks a traditional downtown area due to the placement of the highway.
The town approached Community Builders hoping to offset their current challenges and establish a core sense of place for the community. We partnered with them to develop a downtown strategy to help nurture an environment through capital investments and policy that could provide answers to Fraser’s three main challenges of economic diversification, affordable housing, and safety crossing the highway.
We started with a community visioning workshop, which kicked off open discussions about the challenges and opportunities in Fraser. There was a wide-spread agreement that the community wanted to be more than just a highway town or bedroom community—but similarly, they didn’t want to just be an extension of Winter Park. To find their niche and capitalize on the quirky personality of the community, we developed four key opportunities that would improve the lives of the people living there while still maintaining the“Fraser funk.” These consisted of improving safety and multimodal function for US 40, creating a mixed–use neighborhood in the Riverwalk District, bringing additional housing to Victoria Village, and redeveloping the industrial site, called the Poleyard.
Through community support and buy-in, Fraser received $750,000 in grants from The Colorado Department of Transportation(CDOT) and the Highway Safety Improvement Program to implement multimodal safety improvements on the Highway 40 corridor, specifically identified in our plan. Fraser contributed a 30% match and a total of $1 million was dedicated to the project as a result of this planning effort. The improvements to the highway have since been completed.
Further, the community has revitalized the Poleyard area. Once an industrial area, the Poleyard has been repurposed into a high ropes course. The community took advantage of resources provided through the state brownfields program to create a site plan for this interim use. Eventually, the space will be used for housing development.
Click the button below to view the final Downtown Fraser Strategic Plan.