Over the past six years, the intersection of South Poplar Street and CY Avenue has bore witness to 104 crashes. Now, the Casper City Council hear a proposal that would, conceivably, reduce crashes in that area.

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That proposal comes with a price, though the price isn't money.

On Tuesday, Public Service Director Andrew Beamer spoke to the City Council and suggested extending the zipper lane between two-blocks.

In January of this year, the Council heard a presentation from State Traffic Engineer Joel Meena, speaking on behalf of the Wyoming Department of Transportation.

"One of their suggestions was to extend what they refer to as a zipper lane; the southbound lane that merges from two into one, immediately south of the intersection - almost at the entrance into the Walgreens parking lot  " Beamer stated. "Where it ends rather abruptly, south of the intersection, into one lane. Their solution was to extend those two lanes further south to allow traffic more traffic to merge."

Beamer said it's possible to do that with the existing roadway, by shifting the double yellow line to the east, which will create one lane going north and two lanes going south.

"But to accommodate that extra lane," Beamer revealed, "we will have to remove on-the-street parking. Not a big deal on the west side of the street, as this is commercial, with existing off-the-street parking. More of a concern, no doubt, to the residential properties on the east side of the street, of which we've counted approximately 16 [residents] that would have their on-street parking removed."

Beamer stated the cost for this solution would only be "a couple thousand dollars for paint" but, he said, before moving forward he would suggest that the city hold a townhall-style meeting with the public to get their feedback on the move.

Councilor Gamroth stated that he agrees community feedback would be essential.

Councilor Steve Cathey asked Casper Police Chief Keith McPheeters if this move would actually reduce accidents or "would it just push them further down the road?"

Chief McPheeters said they track crashes often and would be able to offer feedback on this decision using their data.

"The data's not going to be huge, in my opinion," Chief McPheeters said "but I think the ease with which people will be able to merge will be greatly improved with this. If you're looking for miracles, I don't think you're going to get miracles out of this. But absolutely you will be able to track this..."

McPheeters did mention that when they change the roadway, there are always going to be counter-impacts of people learning and adjusting to the change.

Video from the Casper City Council work session can be seen below. The subject of the CY Avenue and South Poplar Street lane extension begins at the 2:18:12 mark:

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