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City Council considers low-cost option to ease traffic woes at CY Avenue and South Poplar Street

South Poplar Street facing south at CY Avenue intersection (Google Maps)

CASPER, Wyo. — The City of Casper is considering a virtually no-cost option toward reducing crashes at the geometrically skewed and statistically problematic intersection of CY Avenue and South Poplar Street.

In January, the City Council heard a presentation by State Traffic Engineer Joel Meena, who said there have been 104 crashes — but no fatalities — at the intersection over the past six years. First and Poplar, by comparison, had 70.

CY Avenue is part of Wyoming Highway 220 and is therefore part of WYDOT’s jurisdiction. Part of Meena’s presentation identified the rapid merging of Poplar’s two southbound lanes by Walgreens as one factor in the crashes.

At the work session in council chambers at City Hall on Tuesday, Public Service Director Andrew Beamer offered a solution that would that would extend the zipper lane by two blocks.

The cost would be negligible — a couple thousand dollars for paint, Beamer said.

The double-yellow centerline would be moved to the east to accommodate the additional length of the southbound zipper lane. 

The caveat is that there would be no on-street parking allowed for residents on the east side of Poplar Street for the length of the extended zipper. Beamer identified 16 affected residential properties.

Before the council moved further with such a plan, Beamer insisted the city hold a neighborhood meeting to solicit feedback.

Casper Police Chief Keith McPheeters said police keep close tabs on crashes, and the impact of the change could be easily measured over time.

He also added that crashes attributed directly to the existing zipper weren’t parsed by WYDOT, and that drivers take some time to adjust to roadway changes.

“I don’t know that you’ll get miracles out of this…” McPheeters said.  

The state traffic engineer talked to the Casper City Council about crash data at the CY and Poplar intersection on Tuesday. (Screenshot from WYDOT PowerPoint presentation)