City’s traffic plan elicits applause | PostIndependent.com

City’s traffic plan elicits applause

Donna Gray
Post Independent Staff
Post Independent Photo/Kelley CoxYoung cyclists cross Grand Avenue at the Ninth Street crosswalk during the evening rush hour Thursday. Their perilous journey across Glenwood's busiest street " and everyone's trip through the heart of town " might become safer, easier and more pleasant if the traffic calming plan discussed yesterday becomes a reality.
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At the end of the meeting Thursday, Dan Burden asked everyone how they felt about their-traffic calming plan: “Raise your hands if you think it’s a good plan,” he said.

Almost 50 hands shot up into the air, a forceful commentary on what could have been a contentious process.

Thursday’s meeting marked the conclusion of a three-day process of planning a calmer, slower future for Grand Avenue.

Burden and Troy Russ, traffic calming consultants the city hired, distilled the comments by citizens offered during the week and crafted a master plan.

Among the most visible, and perhaps habit-changing, recommendations was a series of roundabouts to slow traffic through town but keep it moving. Burden offered sketches of Sixth and Laurel, where a roundabout could create a smoother flow off and on Interstate 70. Another roundabout could go in at Grand Avenue and 23rd Street on the south edge of town. Both would alert drivers to slow down when coming into Glenwood.

“They would have to come through Glenwood on (your) terms,” Burden said, in other words, at something close to the 25-mph speed limit.

Raised medians planted with greenery would help keep traffic moving slowly. Burden also suggested a landscaped “island” at the base of the Grand Avenue bridge as both a gateway to town and a signal that slower speeds were in force.

Medians would mean a loss of parking spaces on the north end of Grand. But they could be replaced and even augmented by adding angled parking on side streets, Burden said.

“I don’t recommend putting them on Grand at this point,” he added.

Burden proposed removing traffic signals at Eighth, 10th and 13th streets and minimizing left turns on Grand to keep vehicles moving. They would be allowed only at traffic signals. Drivers on Eighth no longer could turn left onto Grand.

Even more important than slowing traffic on Grand is making it a safer place to walk and bike, Burden said.

“We want to liberate people so they’re not hostage to Highway 82.”

To do so, curbs would be extended at strategic points on Grand. There, walkers could cross at narrower points where cars and trucks would have to slow down even more.

To help people get across town, he suggested extending some cross streets. Ninth and 11th would extend to a new “neighborhood connector” along the railroad corridor that parallels the Roaring Fork River.

But some objected to the proposal.

“The river corridor street is a bad idea,” said Tim Malloy, an urban planner who lives in Glenwood Springs. “It would become a barrier to the river and open the door to impacting neighborhoods.”

Also in the interest of moving people cross town was Burden’s suggestion to convert Cooper and Colorado to two-way streets.

All in all, the 50 people gathered at city hall for the final meeting Thursday met the plan with.

“I want to compliment your design team for this extreme makeover,” said Dana Chiappinelli. “It gave us a lot of ideas to work with.”

While the plan itself is just a dream without funding, Burden urged the town to go forward with a plan.

“Money should not be your issue. Set priorities and get broad-based support and the money will follow,” he said.

Contact Donna Gray: 945-8515, ext. 510

dgray@postindependent.com


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