Frisco City Council hears Main Street improvement ideas ahead of March vote

Frisco’s main street is pictured at dusk in summer. The city is working on its comprehensive street plan to redesign the downtown core.
City of Frisco/Courtesy Photo

The City of Frisco is in the process of drafting and approving its comprehensive street plan to give a revamp to downtown. In the final stage of the process, city staff and a team of consultants reviewed the planned multimodal designs during a working session on Tuesday, February 8.

The plan began to take shape last summer with crews studying existing street conditions, including collecting data before and after the Frisco pedestrian walkway. A three-day design charrette was held in September, during which approximately 150 community members gave their thoughts on the town centre. A public inquiry garnered more feedback, and the band then spent the next few months refining the design. The plan focuses on Granite and Galena streets, as well as north-south avenues between Madison and Seventh, and the alleys behind Main Street.

“This brings us to a place where we have a clear set of steps and action items that we are going to be able to follow and implement in order to achieve the network of streets that we all envision,” said Susan Lee, Frisco Community Development Planner.

The Toole Design consulting team proposed four main principles of the plan:

  • Improve quality of life
  • Promote walking, cycling and other alternative modes
  • Increase security
  • Improve access to key destinations

The team also proposed new classifications for streets, such as downtown collector street, local residential street, and local commercial street. Granite would be a collector street, defined as “arteries that carry traffic from local streets to main streets”, and Galena would be a residential street, while the avenues would be commercial streets.

These classifications each have their own design pattern. For example, Granite’s new cross-section features a sidewalk and a mix of diagonal and parallel parking along the north edge of the street and a shared-use path on the south edge that joins the recreation path. Street design improves safety for pedestrians and cyclists while allowing cars, parking, landscaping and snow removal.

The plan also includes an urban design palette that aims to unify amenities and furnishings, such as benches, light fixtures, trash cans, bike racks and planters. It serves as a guide for private owners in addition to the city to give the city center a more coherent identity.

However, it will take time before the city redoes a street. In the presentation, the Frisco City Council received a variety of projects with different scope. There are quick projects that can be implemented in a short time and at little cost, and then there are larger transformative projects that require more money and time.

A lot of the easiest upgrades involve Granite Street. For around $10,000, the stop signs on this street could be optimized for safety and traffic flow. The intersection of Granite and Madison is another area for improvement, and it would cost $24,000 to realign it to make it safer. Finally, $17,000 could add curb extensions to the northwest and northeast corners of the intersection of Granite Street and Second Avenue.

Another possible Madison improvement is to create a pilot roundabout at the Main Street intersection. The circle, modeled after pilot programs in cities like Denver, would use temporary materials and cost $41,000.

Meanwhile, a more medium-term project could be a $35,000 study to redesign the walkways at Granite and Galena streets, while the long-term $4.28 million version would include reconstruction.

The city council was generally supportive of everything mentioned in the draft plan. However, Mayor Hunter Mortensen mentioned that he would like adjustments made to the plans for the crosswalks, as a car would have to drive through and block them to see traffic safely. Council member Rick Ihnken said he would like more links to the trail master plan.

Council Member Melissa Sherburne said she would like to see the plan take into account winter weather conditions in the High Country.

“As you can see now across our community, the roads are covered in snow,” Sherburne said. “You can’t see the bike path.”

Sagar Onta, project manager and regional engineering manager for Toole Design, said the group had spoken to people in the public works department to be mindful of snow removal requirements and planned to use more signaling and not marking or painting the roadway.

“We try to recommend more permanent and easier to see features during the winter months,” Onta said.

The public is invited to review and comment on the plan by Friday, February 18 at Feedback will be considered and incorporated into the final plan, which will be presented to City Council for adoption at the end of March.

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