Council to consider clipping wing street
Post Independent Staff
GLENWOOD SPRINGS – The wing street from Grand Avenue to 7th Street soon could fly away.
A determination on whether to close the street – which connects 7th and Grand – could be made Thursday night by City Council at its regular meeting.
The street allows drivers to veer off Grand Avenue just before driving onto the Grand Avenue Bridge and take 7th Street.
The proposal, which is being pushed by the Downtown Development Authority, calls for making the wing street into a pedestrian area.
If approved, the closure would coincide with the Grand Avenue Paving Project, or GAPP, planned by the Colorado Department of Transportation for summer 2004.
The closure and construction of a pedestrian area is estimated to cost $755,000 and would include a new pedestrian ramp, an information center, lighting and concrete planters.
According to a survey compiled by the DDA, the owners of seven businesses in the affected area – most of which are located along the portion of 7th Street that would be closed – are opposed to the closure. The owners have said the project would decrease streetside parking, stop vehicle traffic from passing their shop or restaurant fronts, block access for police and emergency crews, and close off the alleys between buildings downtown.
But the survey also shows that out of the 31 businesses in the area, 81 percent favor making the street into a pedestrian area. The area would be very similar to the roadside pedestrian area on the west side of Grand Avenue.
DDA director John Simmons said there are several reasons to support making the area into a pedestrian-friendly walkway.
“First off it’s for safety and access,” he said.
Another strong reason to support the street closure is “to prepare for competition within the marketplace,” he said.
“We need to make some improvements visually and traffic-wise,” he said.
Simmons also said the project would create a better connection to the north side of the city where the Hot Springs Pool, Hotel Colorado and other amenities exist.
The proposal is being contemplated as the city braces for a major CDOT repaving project set for the summer of 2004. Downtown officials said since the streets would already be torn up and contractors will already be on-site, it would be a great time to do the project.
Simmons has said that the closure of the east wing street is simply a continuation of the project started 10 years ago when the city closed off the west side and made it into a pedestrian walkway.
Other improvements City Council could approve Thursday are crosswalk and intersection upgrades on 8th, 9th, 10th, 11th, 14th, 15th, 20th and 23rd streets. The improvements would consist of stamped and colored concrete crosswalks and possibly other improvements. Preliminary estimates for that project are $238,000, city manager Mike Copp said.
“That all gets into the money issue,” Simmons said. “It’ll probably be developed at council.”
Other improvements that Copp would like to see done while the streets are ripped up in 2004 is the addition of three bus turnouts in front of City Market, Safeway and True Value. The turnouts would allow buses to get out of the traffic flow when picking up or dropping off passengers at those three stops. It’s estimated to cost nearly $100,000, but that’s only if the city doesn’t need to buy any land to build the turnouts.
“Right now we really don’t have a budget for these things,” Copp said. “Council would have to put monies aside.”
Contact Greg Masse: 945-8515, ext. 511
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