An automobile and pedestrian accident on the evening of Tuesday, December 6, 2022 resulted in the tragic death of a pedestrian, 22-year-old Bautista Iazurlo, on December 9, 2022. Iazurlo was hit by an automobile while walking and pushing a shopping cart in the right hand lane of traffic on southbound Highway 9/Summit Boulevard. He was moving southbound with traffic at the time. More details regarding the accident may be found in the information provided by the Town of Frisco to the community and media in a release on December 7, 2022.
Why was there a pedestrian walking on Highway 9/Summit Boulevard?
Understandably, the community has been asking why there was a pedestrian pushing a shopping cart while walking on Highway 9/Summit Boulevard. The Town would never endeavor to make guesses or judgments about how and why decisions are made. Yet, we can and will provide more details now regarding the conditions on Summit Boulevard/Highway 9 that night and snow clearing protocols generally. The young man who died, his family and friends, the driver involved in this accident, and the residents of Frisco deserve continued transparency and more information than has been covered in the local media to this point. This post will also include the written answers provided by the Town of Frisco to the Summit Daily News to inform the Summit Daily’s follow up article on December 9, 2022 regarding this accident.
Written Responses Provided to the Summit Daily’s Questions on December 8, 2022
The Town often asks for and responds to questions in writing, especially when topics are complex and difficult, as it affords a greater chance that the provided information and subsequent reporting will be thorough and accurate. The following are the questions emailed to Frisco Communications Director Vanessa Agee by Summit Daily reporter Ryan Spencer on December 9, 2022. Subsequently, the answers were emailed to Spencer by Agee after receiving responses from Police Chief Tom Wickman, Public Works Director Jeff Goble, and Assistant Public Works Director Addison Canino.
Email response to the Summit Daily News reporter, Ryan Spencer, on the evening of December 8, 2022:
- Question from Summit Daily News- What type of vehicle was involved in the crash? (Make, model, etc.)
Answer from Town of Frisco- It is a white Subaru Forester.
- Question from Summit Daily News– Is there any update on the condition of the person who was hit? If not, when was the last update received?
Answer from Town of Frisco- Unfortunately, they are still in critical condition as of three hours ago.
- Question from Summit Daily News- Can you provide the name of the person who was hit? If not, can you provide the town of residence, their age or whether it was a man or a woman?
Answer from Town of Frisco- No identifying information may be offered at this time.
Public Works Department:
- Question from Summit Daily News- Is Summit Blvd part of the network of sidewalks that the town/public works is in charge of clearing snow from?
Answer from Town of Frisco- Yes, the Frisco Public Works Department is responsible for clearing snow from the multi-use paths and sidewalks around Frisco, including Summit Boulevard/Highway 9. Summit Boulevard/Highway 9 sidewalks and multi-use paths are a high priority because of heavy pedestrian use, including students accessing Summit Middle School
- Question from Summit Daily News- How often is snow cleared from the sidewalk on that street?
Answer from Town of Frisco- Any time there is at least an accumulation of four inches, full snow removal protocols on roads, sidewalks, and multi-use pathways are activated. There are approximately 35 lanes miles of road and 7 miles of sidewalks and multi-use pathways to clear in Frisco. Often sidewalks and multi-use pathways are plowed even when there are just two inches of snow.
Question from Summit Daily News- When did public works last remove snow from that road?
Answer from Town of Frisco- CDOT is responsible for removing snow on “that road”, and Frisco Public Works removed snow from the sidewalks and multi-use pathways for the whole day on Tuesday, December 6 due to persistent snowfall.
- Question from Summit Daily News- What are the town’s guidelines/policies for how quickly or often snow is removed from sidewalks?
Answer from Town of Frisco– Again, full snow removal protocols are activated when there are four inches of snowfall, and during snow events, Public Works makes multi-use pathways and sidewalks a priority because there is consistently heavy pedestrian use, especially on Summit Boulevard/Highway 9. Snow removal operations are staffed twenty-four hours a day when conditions require.
- Question from Summit Daily News- Were the sidewalks along Summit Blvd clear of snow at the time of the crash?
Answers from Town of Frisco–
– The east side multi-use path, which goes from Dillon Dam Road to Main Street, was cleared and remained clear, as there is an approximately ten-foot landscape buffer between the road and multi-use path. The landscape buffer is vitally important to keeping the pathway clear, as it allows this multi-use pathway to stay open, even when CDOT is plowing Summit Boulevard/Highway 9. The buffer serves as a space for snow storage when snow is being plowed from Summit Boulevard/Highway 9 by CDOT. Therefore, the eastside multi-use pathway is the best and preferred route and is accessible from the pedestrian crossing at Hawn Drive and Summit Boulevard/Highway 9.
– On Tuesday, December 6 mid-morning, Public Works attempted to clear the sidewalk between Hawn Drive and the entrance/exit into the CrossRoads Shopping Center, and the snow removal equipment fell into the roadway. Therefore, the snow could not be removed from this portion of sidewalk. These conditions occur each year, as this section of sidewalk is narrow and has no landscape buffer between the sidewalk and the road. To summarize- after consistent snowfall and subsequent plowing of the roadway by CDOT, this section of sidewalk is no longer useable due the constant accumulation of plowed snow.
– Also, the sidewalk between the entrance/exit into the CrossRoads Shopping Center and the bus stop near County Road 1040 is not plowed once regular large snow events make this impossible for the same reason. This portion of sidewalk is also narrow with no landscape buffer, in addition to a rock wall adjacent to the sidewalk on the west side. This is why there is an alternate pedestrian route available and signed at the entrance/exit of CrossRoads Shopping Center that directs any pedestrians onto a pathway that is maintained (and was maintained on December 6) and goes around the portion of sidewalk between the entrance/exit into the CrossRoads Shopping Center and the bus stop near County Road 1040. It is in this section of roadway where the pedestrian was hit on Tuesday.
Question from Summit Daily News-Who is in charge of clearing snow from those sidewalks?
Answer from Town of Frisco- Again, the Frisco Public Works Department is responsible for clearing snow on the sidewalks and multi-use pathways around Summit Boulevard.
### End of questions from Summit Daily and responses from the Town of Frisco ###
Current conditions and future plans
As the sidewalk between Hawn Drive and County Road 1040 is narrow and abuts Highway 9/Summit Boulevard directly, it will continue to not be passable during and soon after large snow events, like the one on Tuesday, December 6. In effect, this section of sidewalk becomes snow storage for snow that is constantly being plowed off of Highway 9/Summit Boulevard during and right after a storm by the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT), which is responsible for clearing this roadway, as it is a state highway.
This section of sidewalk has been “de-commissioned” in the winter for many years because it abuts the road with no landscape buffer and the subsequent snow conditions have made it unreliable for pedestrians, which is why alternate routes are provided. There are stretches of sidewalk and pathways throughout the county, which are similarly “de-commissioned” in the winter, including the pathway along Dillon Dam Road and a stretch of sidewalk in the core of Breckenridge on Lincoln Avenue. Unfortunately, planning for winter pedestrian use and increased traffic was not always at the forefront of design considerations when these roadways were built many years ago.
On Friday, December 10, 2022 at approximately 4:00am, the Town of Frisco Public Works Department closed the right lane between Hawn Drive and County Road 1040 on Highway 9 in order to clear snow from the two sidewalks in this stretch using heavy equipment. The Town will continue this closure and clearing protocol for this sections of sidewalk, as conditions and resources permit, but this clearing cannot happen during or right after snow events, and the two alternate routes available to avoid this section of sidewalk should continue to be used, as there is no reasonable expectation of safety if walking in the roadway when this stretch of sidewalk has not yet been cleared.
Most reliable winter pedestrian routes on Highway 9/Summit Boulevard in Frisco
The following routes continue to be the most reliable and safe alternate pedestrian routes recommended along Highway 9/Summit Boulevard:
- Preferred option- The multi-use pathway on the eastside of Highway 9/Summit Boulevard has a 10-foot landscape buffer that acts as snow storage space for snow cleared from the roadway. This pathway runs from Dillon Dam to Main Street and is the best route for winter pedestrian travel.
- The multi-use pathway that goes around the section of sidewalk between Hawn Drive and County Road 1040 is built above Highway 9/Summit Boulevard so it is not impacted by roadway plowing on Highway 9/Summit Boulevard. The Town continues to urge pedestrians to use this route if they do not use the preferred east side multi-use pathway.
Future plans to support walkability in Frisco
Earlier this year, Frisco contracted with an engineering firm to design a pathway on Highway 9/Summit Boulevard in front of Walmart and between Hawn Drive and County Road 1040 to provide more options for pedestrians. This project is still being designed, and this design will determine budget for and feasibility of construction in 2023. This is part of the ongoing work outlined in the Frisco Trails Master Plan, which has already resulted in a pedestrian underpass between County Commons and the Frisco Adventure Park and extended pathways between Frisco Main Street and Peak One Boulevard, which have led to much improved conditions for pedestrians during the summer and winter. The Town of Frisco will continue to make progress on walkability in Frisco, as this is a priority for Town Council and staff alike.
At the end of the day, we are deeply saddened by the life lost on the cusp of many more adventures and experiences. It hurts all of our hearts to know the pain and sorrow Bautista Iazurlo’s family and friends are experiencing right now, and we want them to know that our community mourns with them.