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From left, Brad Craig, Glen Van Nimwegen, Alison Bourguin and Susan Roebuck listen as Bud Tymczyszyn talks about what Future 50 hopes to accomplish by engaging stakeholders along the U.S. Highway 50 corridor. This Walk and Talk event will be followed next week by a three-day design workshop Nov. 14-16 (photo by Joe Stone).

The Future 50 project took a few more steps – literally – toward the goal of developing a community-based vision for the future of the U.S. Highway 50 corridor in Salida.

Alison Bourquin and Bud Tymczyszyn with Community Builders, which provides funding and professional expertise to help the city create a vision for Highway 50 development, led Wednesday’s Walk and Talk event, which covered Salida’s Highway 50 corridor in four segments.

Bourquin and Tymczyszyn said each segment was attended by small groups, mostly business owners, but that the walks provided valuable firsthand knowledge of the southern edge of Salida.

Bud Tymczyszyn asks for opinions about highway crossings as a pedestrian sprints to avoid traffic, even after activating the pedestrian crossing lights near the NAPA store on U.S. Highway 50. Brad Craig, who owns the NAPA store, said his observations indicate the crossing has done little to improve pedestrian safety (photo by Joe Stone).

They said feedback from Highway 50 business owners indicated they often feel left out of the discussion about Salida’s future.

“We just want to hear what business owners want,” said Tymczyszyn. “We’re just listening. We want to hear what they’d like to see.”

Bourquin said she “got to dodge traffic crossing the highway without a crosswalk” during one of the walks, adding, “it’s nice to actually experience what people are talking about.”

She also said people had provided “lots of feedback about crossings,” and the final Walk and Talk included the section of Highway 50 with the pedestrian crossing near Salida Hotel and Wallbanger’s.

The city of Salida has an easement south of U.S. Highway 50 at Palmer Road, but the easement is blocked by a fence at Many Minis storage units. The easement could provide access from Highway 50 to a portion of the Vandaveer property along the South Arkansas River (photo by Joe Stone).

Susan Roebuck, who lives south of Highway 50 and often crosses the highway on foot, said the last time she used the pedestrian crossing, one car stopped, but another car didn’t. “People aren’t used to it. … I think stop lights are safer.”

Brad Craig, who owns the NAPA store near the crosswalk, agreed that the crosswalk doesn’t work well and said he frequently sees people cross the highway less than a block from the crosswalk. He said a pedestrian overpass would be the safest alternative.

The Future 50 community engagement process will continue with a three-day community design workshop Wednesday, Nov. 14, through Friday, Nov. 16 at the SteamPlant annex – 10 a.m.-4 p.m. each day.

Toward the east end of U.S. Highway 50 in Salida, the sidewalk ends where a previous project left off. Gaps in sidewalk coverage exist at both ends of the Highway 50 corridor (photo by Joe Stone).

Tymczyszyn said these design sessions will involve working with a team of consultants, including an urban designer, two transportation planners, and a building and development specialist.

Based on the feedback from community members, the design team will develop strategies and ideas for the Highway 50 corridor, and those preferred by community members will be further developed, including concept drawings to help visualize the end result, said Tymczyszyn.

Each night, Future 50 team members will host a public open house from 5 to 7 p.m. and present concepts developed during the day. 50 Burger will host the open house sessions Wednesday, Nov. 14, and Thursday, Nov. 15. Soulcraft Brewing Co. will host the final open house Friday, Nov. 16.

Community input from these and other Future 50 outreach efforts will provide the basis for Highway 50 zoning and development ideas used to guide a special zoning overlay for Salida’s Highway 50 corridor.