John Stroud

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October 8, 2012
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Cooper traffic change worries residents

GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colorado - A downtown Glenwood Springs traffic study will examine whether Cooper Avenue from Ninth to 10th Street should be turned into a two-way street to better serve the city's new parking facility.

In doing so, Cooper Avenue residents and other citizens will have input through a special advisory committee that will help guide the study.

Several residents from all along Cooper Avenue showed up at last Thursday's Glenwood Springs City Council meeting when it appeared on the agenda that council may consider changing the existing one-way street to accommodate two-way traffic.

However, council members assured the residents that only the 900 block, where a new city parking garage is under construction at Ninth and Cooper, is in play.

Even then, it will depend on what the study finds and whether changing that block to a two-way street makes sense to accommodate traffic flow into and out of the new facility.

"I don't think anyone is contemplating turning all of Cooper Avenue into a two-way street," said Mayor Matt Steckler, who apologized for any "anxiety" created by the way the agenda was worded. "Common sense says we just need to be looking at the one block."

When the city approved plans for the new parking structure earlier this year, council agreed that a broader traffic study should be done to look at how downtown traffic circulation patterns might change.

Initially, the study wasn't to be done until after the parking garage is built and being used, which is anticipated in late December or early January.

Some council members would like to see the study done sooner in order to make necessary changes before potential problems arise.

"The goal here is to try to figure out ways to minimize impacts on Cooper," Councilman Ted Edmonds said. "That parking garage is going to be there, and we need to take that into account."

The broader study will analyze current downtown traffic circulation and how that may change with the new parking structure, as well as the new Glenwood Springs library that's being built at the corner of Eighth and Cooper.

"This will give us a better understanding of how one change might affect something else," City Manager Jeff Hecksel said. "Once you have the study, it will come back to you in a public setting.

"What you do with it then is up to you," Hecksel advised the council members.

Cooper Avenue residents urged council not to include the portion of the street farther to the south in the study for possible changes.

"I think there was a fair amount of misinformation about what's being considered," said Bob Noone. "Upper Cooper is a unique area, and not really part of downtown."

Once a traffic consultant is hired to do the study, council agreed to form a citizens advisory committee to help oversee the process and weigh in on any recommendations.

Council, at the Oct. 4 meeting, also reviewed a conceptual plan by LOCO Inc. of Grand Junction for redevelopment of the Tomahawk truck stop site in West Glenwood. The existing buildings would be torn down under the plan, and replaced with a new 5,000-square-foot convenience store/restaurant with a drive-through window, a new fueling station including five islands, and an 8,000-square-foot self storage facility at the back end of the property.

The new fueling station will not accommodate semi-trailer trucks, according to architect John Scales and LOCO representatives who attended the meeting. Council expressed concerns about emergency access into and out of the self storage area, which will likely be addressed when a formal development application is made.

Asked by council member Mike Gamba if they would consider installing a compressed natural gas (CNG) fueling station, the LOCO reps said they would give it a look.">class="NormalParagraphStyle">

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The Post Independent Updated Oct 8, 2012 01:09AM Published Oct 8, 2012 01:06AM Copyright 2012 The Post Independent. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.