GLENWOOD SPRINGS — Don’t try to turn southbound onto Cooper Avenue from Ninth Street just yet, but sometime after the first of the year motorists will be able to do so in an effort to make the city parking garage more accessible.
Glenwood Springs City Council agreed unanimously at its Dec. 5 meeting to follow a recommendation from city staff and convert the 900 block of Cooper to a two-way street from its current one-way northbound configuration.
“I believe that was our intent when we built the parking garage, but we wanted to go through the process to make sure that was the right decision,” Mayor Leo McKinney said.
The Cooper switch is part of a larger ongoing downtown traffic circulation study that is taking a look at a variety of options for easing traffic flow in the downtown area.
The $50,000 study was launched following the completion of the city parking garage at Ninth and Cooper and the new library building just down the block at Eighth and Cooper.
City engineer Terri Partch said several things need to happen first before the directional change in the 900 block of Cooper can be made, including waiting for the snow to melt and the weather to warm so that the necessary striping can be done.
For that reason, the change probably won’t occur until early spring, she said.
With the conversion, the intersection at Ninth and Cooper will also become a four-way stop. Currently, only motorists traveling east and west on Ninth are required to stop at that intersection.
In addition to new stop signs, new signs will be needed on Grand Avenue at Ninth and 10th pointing to the new public parking east of Grand, Partch said.
The change on Cooper will not affect the on-street diagonal parking on the east side of the street and parallel parking spots on the west side. However, the street will be painted with stripes delineating two 10-foot traffic lanes, she said.
A raised island at 10th and Cooper will also be needed in order to maintain and enforce the one-way northbound traffic flow on Cooper between 10th and 13th streets.
Council considered but rejected two other options to provide better access into the parking garage, including a proposal to change just a 50-foot portion of Cooper south of Ninth to two-way traffic.
Another option would have involved flipping the one-way travel directions between Cooper Avenue and Colorado Avenue on the west side of Grand Avenue.