GLENWOOD SPRINGS — It’s now legal for motorists to continue south on Cooper Avenue into the 900 block, or make the turn from Ninth Street to get into the city parking garage, without the threat of a ticket or a head-on fender-bender.
Not that police have been too focused on handing out tickets for wrong-way turns since the Glenwood Springs City Council decided back in December to convert the 900 block of Cooper from a one-way to a two-way street, City Engineer Terri Partch said.
But, after the ground finally thawed to the point where city crews could remove the one-way signs, and temperatures warmed enough this week to allow for new striping to delineate the northbound and southbound lanes, the conversion was made official on Wednesday, she said.
A temporary barrier has also been placed at Cooper and 10th to keep people from continuing south on Cooper at that point, as the stretch between 10th and 13th streets remains one-way.
Eventually, a raised traffic island will be installed at 10th and Cooper to help maintain and enforce the one-way northbound traffic flow on Cooper, Partch said.
“It was good timing to try to get things spruced up in time for Memorial Day weekend,” she said of the holiday weekend during which Glenwood Springs can expect numerous visitors.
Since the city parking garage opened in late 2012, providing free all-day parking, the 900 block of Cooper has remained one-way. That required people coming from the north to drive around the block to get from the lower parking area to the upper deck entrance.
Following a broader study of traffic circulation around the core downtown area, and after working with residents and property owners along that stretch of Cooper, the city decided to convert the block to two-way traffic.
One change from the original plan is that the intersection will remain a two-way stop from Ninth crossing Cooper, instead of a four-way stop.
“We decided to keep it as similar to the current configuration as possible so there wouldn’t be any confusion,” Partch said. “So traffic on Cooper will be allowed to go through without a stop, and there will continue to be a stop for those approaching on Ninth on either side.”
Street parking is also being maintained on either side of Cooper in the 900 block, including diagonal parking on the east side of the street and parallel parking on the west side by the parking garage.