City moves forward with back-in parking
Despite public outcry, Glenwood Springs has no plans to back down any time soon on back-in angle parking.Rather, it’s planning to accelerate the approach beyond Cooper Avenue.City Council voted 4-2 Thursday night against ending the experiment on Cooper, deciding the city should stick to its plan to give the concept a year to prove if it will be worthwhile.It also directed city staff members to expand the experiment to Seventh Street downtown and North Hyland Park Drive by Sayre Park as soon as possible.Council member Larry Beckwith said it’s too soon to judge the concept because it isn’t yet known how well it will work in winter conditions.”I think if we take it out now we don’t ever see back-in parking happening in Glenwood Springs, period. And I don’t know if that’s good or bad,” he said.Two Cooper Avenue merchants told council that back-in parking is plenty bad already, and is causing them to lose customers too frustrated by it.”If you want to continue to hurt the businesses, let’s just continue with this program here,” said Joe Ruden, co-owner of the Good Health Store.Said Rachael Windh, owner of the For You Shoppe, “I’m very busy in my store, and I’m really tired of hearing my customers complain.”Windh and Ruden said they have gathered numerous signatures from customers who are opposed to back-in parking, feeling it is difficult for drivers and unsafe.Only one other person spoke out against back-in parking Thursday.”While I appreciate traffic calming I’m not sure traffic confusion is the same thing as traffic calming, and I think that’s what this is about, it’s confusing drivers,” said Glenwood resident Cheryl Cain.But back-in parking was endorsed Thursday by city engineer Mike McDill, city Transportation Commission chairman Larry Heinrichs, and Howard Raley, who was part of the citizens committee that drew up the traffic-calming plan. They argue it’s safer backing in to park than backing out into traffic.”I think back-in parking is the brightest thing the city has ever done,” Raley said.Council members Dave Johnson and Kris Chadwick favored ending the Cooper Avenue experiment, saying it’s the wrong place to try it.”To me it’s too much brain damage for no net gain in space. … For me to hear about it endlessly is just not worth it,” Johnson said.Part of the point of back-in parking is to add spaces by replacing parallel parking spaces with diagonal ones, which take up less room. But the Cooper change didn’t achieve this because the street already had traditional diagonal parking.The Seventh Street and North Hyland Park changes would produce more spaces. They also would narrow the street travel lanes, which could slow traffic speeds in what are pedestrian-oriented areas.The Seventh Street change will require creating truck loading zones under the Grand Avenue Bridge, in the middle of Cooper or in the alleys south of Seventh Street.City manager Jeff Hecksel said he wasn’t sure whether the city would be able to implement the expanded back-in parking before winter, or if the change would have to wait until spring.Contact Dennis Webb: 945-8515, ext. firstname.lastname@example.org
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