Are the tracks on the wrong side? |

Are the tracks on the wrong side?

Pete FowlerGlenwood Springs, CO Colorado

Move the railroad wye.Nearly everyone who attended a public meeting on the confluence plan supported the concept of moving the wye. The wye is in the confluence area southeast of where the Roaring Fork River flows into the Colorado River. A wye is a triangle of track with three switches that is used to reverse the direction of a train.City engineer Mike McDill said train operators want to keep the wye there in case they need it to turn trains, and that the Roaring Fork Transportation Authority also wants it there.”Some time in the future they are going to need this juncture to go both ways with the commuter rail,” he said.Previous plans called for Eighth Street to be lowered and built underneath raised railroad tracks in the area. Moving the wye slightly east would allow Eighth Street to cross them at grade level. The city council budgeted money to extend Eighth Street last year.”There are a lot of benefits to moving the railroad, one of which is it creates more space,” McDill said.He estimated it would add 20 to 30 percent more space on the side of the Roaring Fork River. The city could also save $250,000 to $500,000 by not paying to build a railroad underpass, he added. Some thought an underpass could take away from the atmosphere of Eighth Street and whatever development ends up going in near it.Some of the input in this meeting and another in early August has included more of an emphasis on housing than could be found in a 2003 confluence plan. “One of the big needs that has come up is additional housing,” said Steve Radomski of RNL Design. Another concept mentioned, among many suggestions, was to preserve some of the open space along the rivers, not bringing retail or housing too close to the water’s edge.Bill Lamont, a Garfield County Library District board member, said the district would be looking at relocating its Glenwood library starting in 2008. The confluence area is one possibility.”We can’t move until the community can make its decision,” he said. “We could build in Rifle or somewhere else first.”McDill and Radomski presented the issues, along with four proposed alternatives that came from the August meeting, and asked for input. The alternatives show Seventh Street curving south into Eighth Street. Eighth Street would then connect with the current bridge over the Roaring Fork River to Midland Avenue, which McDill said is aligned with Eighth Street.Also being considered are retail developments, civic facilities, housing, a RFTA transit center, a performing arts center, a parking structure and possibly moving a baseball diamond from the south of Glenwood Springs Elementary School to the north. Space will be created when the current wastewater treatment plant is moved farther away from the center of the city.The discussion shifted at one point toward a Highway 82 bypass showdown until it was steered back toward revisions of the confluence plan. Some felt that the bypass issue should be considered in the context of the confluence plan.Contact Pete Fowler: 945-8515, ext. 16611 pfowler@postindependent.comPost Independent, Glenwood Springs Colorado CO

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