Confluence should be a transportation/residential hub
It is against the background of the proposed Red Feather Ridge annexation that we should look more closely at the planning of the confluence area of the Roaring Fork River and the Colorado River. We have a unique opportunity to build high-density residential arranged around public spaces, defined by the two rivers in our downtown.
The more we move away from our town center, the less efficient services become. Transport becomes more expensive and scarcer, forcing people to use cars for all their needs. The hidden costs of roads, utilities, and services are much higher. We need more people in our downtown, not more suburban housing.
We do not need Red Feather Ridge costing the community more to provide services to the development than the community will ever receive in tax revenues or any other benefits. Suburban houses may seem cheaper to build, and therefore affordable to buy, but this is because their price does not reflect their true environmental cost.
Suburbs are wasteful: they waste land, they waste energy and they waste public money.
We have before us the prospect of building higher densities and shifting to other alternatives than the traditional family house.
Glenwood is on the brink of planning the river frontage that has been historically largely industrial uses. The buildings in the confluence of the two rivers area that housed public uses have been relocated or are planned for relocation. What a great opportunity to plan in a sustainable way new facilities for people who would live there and bring vitality, activity and spending power to the community.
We can plan for residential living, retail and amenities near a new public transportation hub including a parking facility all within walking distance of their homes. This would be an urban center, near public transportation, social and commercial facilities.
We need to make some tough decisions and go forward with conviction on our transportation planning. I hope that City Council will direct the planning efforts of the confluence area towards a sustainable mixed use transportation and residential hub.
We need the political will and confidence to establish new zoning in the area that allows us to plan accordingly. The confluence area offers us a chance for more people to live in our city center and to build a strong sense of community. Let’s take it.
We need a strong resolution from council stating that people of Glenwood Springs intend to someday relocate Highway 82 on a route that extends from Exit 114 to south of Glenwood Springs. A firm resolution is needed to guide future planning and for reclaiming our Main Street.
We then can plan for a downtown that offers its residents the chance to live along the riverfront in spacious terrace units, with tree-lined paths and streets and landscaped parks, beautiful buildings and public spaces.
Downtown residents would have pedestrian access to public transportation, good schools and other public amenities and include people from different economic, ethnic and social backgrounds.
Glenwood Springs Downtown Development Authority
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Policy that dictates what for-profit activities should be officially sanctioned within Glenwood Springs parks is being reviewed by city staff and will likely come before the city council for final approval later this summer.