Downtown Casper 1-Way to 2-Way Conversion Study

n 1979, as part of a broader effort to revitalize downtown Casper several improvements to the downtown streetscape were made including the redesign of East Second Street adding chicanes and other traffic calming measures to foster a more pedestrian-friendly atmosphere and the transition of Durbin and Wolcott Streets into one-way streets. Following national trends, the two streets were converted to one-way streets in an effort to move more vehicular traffic through the downtown area at a faster rate. However, as downtowns started reasserting themselves as communities’ cultural, economic, and residential centers the popularity of one-way couplets changed. To achieve the goal of making community downtowns into economic and cultural centers traffic speed and efficiency needed to be tempered with pedestrian and bicycle convenience and safety along with increased business access and visibility. The MPO’s most recent update of their Long Range Transportation Plan: Connecting Crossroads (2020), identified that the conversion of those streets back to two-way traffic would be beneficial to downtown retailers, safer for the community, and provide the opportunity to extend bike lanes on Durbin Street. This study will help meet other goals set forth in Connecting Crossroads, including increasing transportation options for all modes, improving the safety and health for all residents, enhancing the region’s distinct character, and supporting the region’s diversifying economy.

Casper Area Bicycle and Pedestrian Plan Update

The 2013 Casper Area Trails, Path, and Bikeway Plan envisioned a comprehensive and connected bicycle and pedestrian network that is safe, comfortable, and convenient for people of all ages and abilities. The plan, commissioned and funded by the MPO,  built upon previous planning and ongoing infrastructure implementation efforts to identify gaps and barriers to walking and biking in the Casper Area, and recommended infrastructural improvements, as well as policies, programs, and practices that support these modes.

Our updated plan will be guided by goals outlined in the MPO’s most recent Long Range Transportation Plan Update, Connecting Crossroads, which broadly recognized that bicycling and walking provide affordable and easy mobility solutions. Additionally, robust bike and pedestrian networks help meet goals for increasing transportation options, enhancing the region’s distinct character, and improving the safety and health for all residents and visitors.

The Casper Area Bicycle and Pedestrian Plan Update’s will include a cyclist and pedestrian safety and educational outreach component. We are planning a multi-pronged effort to enhance transportation safety throughout the MPO area. A significant element of the project will be a creative multimedia campaign designed to change behaviors and perceptions surrounding active transportation that targets all roadway users, including motorists, bicyclists, and pedestrians. The campaign will include both informational and motivational elements that capture viewers’ attention while also inspiring meaningful behavioral changes for the long term.

Casper Rail Trail Extension Plan

Currently there are approximately six miles of Casper Rail-Trail, part of the Great American Rail-Trail.  Following US Highway 20/26, this section of the Rail-Trail utilizes the former Chicago and Northwestern Railroad route and travels through the City of Casper and Town of Evansville.  With Covid-19 associated restrictions in place, trail and outdoor facility usage has been up significantly. The MPO and its partners would like to continue this trend by moving forward with new trail connections, upgraded facilities, and safer crossings for all users.

The Platte River Trails Trust (PRTT), a local non-profit organization, has completed some preliminary work on this project including mapping of two possible alignments, developing a list of stakeholders, opening discussion with adjacent landowners, and discussing crossing options with the Wyoming Department of Transportation (WYDOT).  Extension of the Casper Rail-Trail to EKW is part of the PRTT five-year vision and goals.  This study will also help meet the goals set forth in the most recent update of the Long Range Transportation Plan, including increasing transportation options for all modes and improving the safety and health for all residents.  Additionally, this study will assist local governments and trail advocacy groups in completing the Great American Rail-Trail through Wyoming. 
 

Robertson Road to Mills Trail Extension Plan

The Robertson Road to Mills Riverfront Trail Extension Plan will determine the feasibility, and guide the development, of the construction of a pathway beginning at Robertson Road near the boundary of the Town of Mills jurisdiction and connecting to the existing Platte River Trails corridor near the Platte River.  This trail would be a paved walking/biking, non-motorized use, multimodal improvement trail.  

Evansville Trail Linkage Study

Currently, the trail system in Evansville is isolated from the Rail-Trail, which spans the Casper Area.  In the Evansville area, the Rail-Trail follows East Yellowstone Highway/ US 20-26 and may extend east as far as Edness Kimball Wilkins State Park in the future.  The town of Evansville would like to investigate possibilities for connecting the Evansville loop trail within a residential development and along the Platte River to the Rail-Trail, and consequently other trails within the Casper Area.  This would involve crossing a busy US highway, an at-grade railroad track, and possible travel through both residential and industrial areas.  This study will develop scenarios for connecting the trails and provide preliminary cost estimates and construction recommendations.
 

Lathrop Road Traffic Study

The Lathrop Road Traffic Study began on September 30, 2020 with a contract between Casper Area MPO and Western Research and Development of Cheyenne, Wyoming, a subsidiary of Y2 Consultants of Jackson, Wyoming. The main congestion issue reported in the study area is for the westbound left turn at the Lathrop Road / Curtis Street (WYO 258) TEE intersection. This problem has gradually become worse over time. Historic Aerial imagery reveals the current two-lane-versus-five-lane geometry has been in place since prior to 1994. However, in the intervening 27 years, the developed land area served by that left turn has roughly quadrupled in size, with a commensurate increase in traffic volume (map below). With no other way to get back to I-25, drivers accessing Lathrop Road businesses have no other choice but to use the Lathrop Road/Curtis Street intersection. With public input, Western/Y2 completed alternative evaluation using signal warrant studies, capacity analyses, and projected crash reductions and safety improvements. Output from these analyses were used to develop recommendations for network geometric and operational improvements, including motorized and non-motorized facilities. 

Public Participation Plan

The Casper Area Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) provides cooperative, comprehensive, and quality transportation planning to the Casper area. The success of the MPO and its transportation planning efforts is largely dependent upon public participation. The Public Participation Plan (PPP) is an adopted  document of the Casper Area MPO to ensure broad public involvement during development, review, and implementation of regional transportation projects and programs. The PPP identifies the goals and federal requirements that need to be addressed throughout the public participation process.

Transit Strategic Development Plan

The building of a five-year Transit Strategic Development Plan for our CATC and The Bus transit service has begun!  This plan will cover the Federal Fiscal years 2022-2026 and will produce short term goals and a long term strategic plan for the Casper Area Transit System. 

The project will include a variety of public participation opportunities including various surveys, an interactive project webpage, discussions with community stakeholders, and community workshops.  The project, which received Casper city council approval in late October, is expected to last approximately six months.

The MPO and its consultant have created a project webpage ( CasperTransitPlan.com ) which will be updated frequently throughout the project span.  The website, which will track project progress, also includes a mechanism for public comment and questions.  Details regarding future public participation opportunities will also be posted therein. 

DRAFT Transit Strategic Development Plan