Access Control Plan bisects Glenwood
Glenwood Springs, Colorado CO
An effort by the city of Glenwood Springs and the Colorado Department of Transportation to enact a 20-year master plan to control access points along Grand Avenue and Highway 82 is under way, with a City Council work session on the plan set for this Thursday.
Called the Access Control Plan, it would establish access policies and lay out new street and sidewalk designs that would take effect when redevelopment or changes of use are proposed during the next two decades.
In studying the plan, discussing it with others who live, own property and/or do business in Glenwood Springs, I am listing some observations. Enacting the plan as it stands would disrupt traffic circulation patterns, devalue private property and interfere with the quality of life in Glenwood Springs.
Access control plans are imposed on communities in order to avoid serious highway accidents. Plan consultants admit that Grand Avenue / Highway 82 does not have a history of frequent or serious accidents. The plan is being put forward, therefore, to move more vehicles through Glenwood (particularly between the communities west and south of Glenwood). Here are a few examples to illustrate my point.
• The proposed plan bisects Glenwood. Residents/visitors will be prohibited from making (currently allowed) left turns off Grand/onto Grand at 56 locations between Eighth and Walmart. Vehicles will not be allowed to travel across Grand Avenue at Eighth or 10th, which truly cuts off one side of town from the other. Vehicular east-west traffic currently using Eighth, Ninth, 10th and 11th across Grand will be routed to Ninth or 11th. This impacts residents along Colorado, Cooper and 11th.
• If a vehicle was at the new library on Eighth Street, the only “move” allowed at Eighth and Grand would be to take a right turn and go over the bridge; there’d be no way to stay downtown. The wing street is to be removed.
• Planners state that pedestrians would still be able to get across Grand at Eighth, though there’d be no signal/light. “Perhaps” a safety median could be put there. Plan calls for pedestrians to cross under the bridge, nearer Seventh instead of crossing at Eighth, the heaviest used pedestrian crossing in town.
• Jimmy’s 66 at 13th is mandated to share a driveway onto Grand with a neighbor to the south. Didn’t anyone look at the huge grade difference between the two properties?
• The Safeway entry at 20th would also be the access for Wendy’s, Arby’s and the gas station to the south and for US Bank to the north. How does Safeway feel about that, and how would it affect those other businesses?
• The plan suggests Good Shepherd Lutheran Church be removed so that North Hyland Drive can be straightened out to meet the corner of Park across the street. That is unacceptable.
• Residences on the west side of Grand between North and South Park Drive will be forced to share driveways and could only make a right turn from their driveways onto Grand. How does this impact to their property values?
• Plan calls for no left turns from the east side of Grand between 14th and 20th unless a “solution” can be found for North Hyland Park Drive. How much additional traffic is forced onto Blake? Imagine the “stacking” at 14th and 20th.
• 23rd to 27th South Grand is among the most heavily traveled Glenwood corridors. The plan calls for closing Grand at 23rd. Eastbound traffic from Sunlight Bridge would be mandated to take 27th to Highway 82. However, in the winter, eastbound 27th between South Grand and Highway 82 has a history of accidents and road closures because of the incline icing up. Additionally, businesses on South Grand would be severely impacted by reduced circulation and closure of their street.
• Plan mandates no left turns southbound off Highway 82 from 23rd to 27th, into Domino’s, Defiance, etc. Blake between 23rd and 27th will have to service southbound commercial traffic that is trying to get into 23rd to 27th Highway 82 businesses.
• Blake would be opened up to Walmart at 28th. South Blake cannot handle through traffic. Blake Avenue property owners have not been notified or consulted about this proposed opening.
The Access Control Plan increases Highway 82 traffic capacity at the expense of local businesses, Glenwood neighborhoods and community circulation.
CDOT needs to add an alternate route in order to increase vehicle capacity through this narrow valley. Glenwood citizens and visitors should not have to give up community circulation and quality of life in order to move more vehicles through Glenwood.
Chris McGovern is a member of the Glenwood Springs Transportation Commission, a former member of City Council, and a businesswoman.
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