Where the Rubber Meets the Road
A Guide to Navigating Windsor’s Transportation Infrastructure
Mayor Kristie Melendez, Director of Engineering Dennis Wagner, and Director of Planning Scott Ballstadt help break down the complexities of our transportation network — how we plan, fund, and build our infrastructure.
There are several planning documents that shape our transportation network:
- 2016 Comprehensive Plan A 20,000-foot view of how we will develop our multimodal transportation network over 15 to 20 years.
- 2017 Roadway Improvement Plan Takes information from the Comprehensive Plan and drills into greater detail. Identifies major improvements through 2040.
- 2017 CompleteStreets Policy Guides development of a multi-modal transportation system, emphasizing safe access for all users, including pedestrians and bicyclists.
“The Comprehensive Plan and the Roadway Improvement Plan are the backbone of our efforts,” Wagner said. “They tell us, the best we can predict, what we’re going to need in the future and where we’re going to need it, so we aren’t doing things arbitrarily.”
The main sources of funding for Windsor roadway projects include:
- Road Impact Fees Fees paid by developers and builders to offset new and expanded roadways.
- Sales and Use Taxes Taxes applied at 3.95 percent to all tangible items sold and construction/building materials or equipment in the Town of Windsor, utilized mostly for Capital Improvement Projects.
- Colorado Severance Taxes | Taxes on nonrenewable natural resources that are removed from the earth; used primarily for existing roadway maintenance.
- Grants and Joint Funding Funding through grants or partnerships with the county, state, or other organizations, like the North Front Range Metropolitan Planning Organization.
“One of Windsor’s important financial tools is the Road Impact Fee,” Ballstadt said. “It’s one way that growth can ‘pay its own way.’”
"From 2013 to 2017, citizens’ responses declined, as far as their positive response to our transportation system. That tells me they are noticing the traffic, and it’s not as easy to move around on our streets. I attribute it to growth. There are more vehicles on the road.”
– Dennis Wagner
It’s more cost effective to do routine road maintenance than to let the roadways fall into disrepair and rebuild them. With this mindset, the town utilizes a streets maintenance software program, MicroPAVER. Roadways are evaluated and conditions are inputted into the system. Using this information, the software program calculates a Pavement Condition Index for the street. Coupled with the budget, MicroPAVER uses the index to prioritize and provide a maintenance plan.
“One of the strengths of our road network is the fact that Town Board has reinvested in our older infrastructure over time,” Ballstadt said. “Not only do we have all of these new neighborhoods with new streets, but we’ve also invested in the older streets in our core area of town.”
Windsor has a five-year Capital Improvement plan, which works to address large transportation infrastructure projects. With a reach through 2040, the Roadway Improvement Plan informs many of the roadway projects that make their way into the Capital Improvement Plan.
“The Roadway Improvement Plan identifies more than $131.7 million of improvements that the town anticipates needing between today and 2040,” Ballstadt said. “It involves almost 50 miles of roadway improvements that we’re going to need based on population and employment growth.”
"It was very clear in the Citizen Survey that transportation is on the minds of everyone. We do have some Challenges ahead, but I think there are some good conversations being had to find solutions to alleviate these problems.”
– Mayor Kristie Melendez
There are four classifications of roadways, owned and maintained by the respective governing body: local, county, state, and federal. Windsor faces challenges and opportunities related to the two state highways going through the community — Highway 392 (Main Street) and Highway 257. The Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) is the ultimate authority over the state highway network, setting standards, speed limits, and maintenance plans.
“If CDOT gave up all of the state highways for local entities to control, our state highway system would fail,” Wagner said. “We wouldn’t be able to move goods from Point A to Point B effectively.”
Windsor collaborates with a variety of regional and state partners to tackle transportation-related issues. The town is one of 13 communities that participate in the North Front Range Metropolitan Planning Organization, the Northern Colorado transportation planning agency. Windsor is also represented on the I-25 Coalition, Highway 34 Coalition, and the Highway 34 PEL Study.
“We’re participating in bigger conversations than what our community alone can do. You can do greater things in greater numbers,” Melendez said. “We all recognize the need for improved transportation conditions in our area, and we all recognize the growth that’s coming. We want to ensure that we are proactive to the growth — that we have the plans, programs, and dollars in place.”