City councils are our elected officials, elected because the citizens trust them to do their jobs for the best interest of our community, to promote our prosperity, to protect the safety of the people, to listen to our concerns, etc., with their love for our community, better foresight, vision, and hopefully, common sense.
With all of these, why is our current Glenwood Springs council in agreement with CDOT to build a bigger and taller bridge and develop an "access control plan" that will eliminate some traffic lights and left-turn options on Grand Avenue in the core of our downtown?
Common sense tells us this coupler is to facilitate the traffic flow faster and turn our city street into a super State Highway 82. One of the City Council members said in the council meeting on Feb. 7 that this access control plan is not going to happen tomorrow, until the traffic volume increases by 20 percent in 10-15 years. So, that is his foresight and then the plan for our town: not to kill our town tomorrow but in the near future.
The traffic on Grand Avenue in downtown has been an issue for decades. There are more than a dozen studies to take Highway 82 traffic off downtown Grand Avenue because of the negative impacts on business from the traffic noises, pollutions, vibrations and jeopardized pedestrian safety.
Businesses in downtown - including unique boutiques, gift shops, restaurants, fabric store, drug store, antique stores, etc. - are for the tourists and locals to enjoy after a soak in the pool and a ride at the adventure park peacefully and safely.
The current council should have the vision of being the legacy to finally take highway traffic off downtown and make Grand Avenue a city street to accomplish and promote a pedestrian friendly downtown. Finding funds for a Highway 82 bypass is not city's job but CDOT's, and Mayor Steckler does not have to take that upon himself as a reason to approve the current project.
Without the big trucks and traffic load of Highway 82, the bridge can be repaired (if it is indeed needed) and can even be beautifully restored as one of the tourist attractions at much lower cost. Going in the opposite direction, the City Council is planning to allow the current CDOT super Highway 82 plan to go through downtown and kill the businesses along the avenue resulting in empty and even boarded-up store fronts.
When downtown dies, our greatest tourist attractions - the pool and Adventure Park - lose their support system because we are all connected as a historical, charming unique small mountain town. Where are tourists and locals going to shop, roam and eat after a dip in the pool and a ride in the park when dead downtown offers nothing but dust, noise and boarded-up store fronts?
When downtown dies, tourist attractions die, the city of Glenwood Springs will no longer be the "most fun city in the USA," and we become a sacrificial lamb for CDOT to serve the upper valley followed by the drop of property values for all of us.
Has our council envisioned this and connected all the dots? Is this the legacy City Council wants to leave for destroying this old town?
If you are concerned about the future of our town, please contact City Council members. You can also contact a grass-roots citizen group called Citizens to Save Grand Avenue at 970-456-3122 or at email@example.com
A.P. (Jake) Jacobson is a concerned property owner in Glenwood Springs. He wants to get State Highway 82 off of Grand Avenue and is a member of Citizens To Save Grand Avenue.