Council to consider traffic-calming measures |

Council to consider traffic-calming measures

Dennis WebbPost Independent Staff

Street lanes would slim down and bike lanes would pop up around Glenwood Springs if City Council adopts a committee’s recommendations.Speed humps also could play a role as a traffic-calming measure, but not on designated emergency response routes, under the proposal the city’s traffic efficiencies committee is scheduled to present to council today.The committee offers a host of means for reducing vehicle speeds in town, and making things safer and more pleasant for cyclists, pedestrians and residents. It also proposes a process for proposing traffic-calming measures, prioritizing proposals, and funding them.Few of the measures should come as a surprise to anyone familiar with recommendations the city has been receiving from Dan Burden, a traffic-calming consultant who has made repeat visits to Glenwood Springs and is scheduled to return later this month.The idea of narrowing streets is gaining widespread favor, however, the committee says in an introduction to a draft street standards proposal.Everyone from the “livable cities’ movement to associations representing civil engineers and home builders are questioning the tendency to assume that wider streets are better, and to design traffic and parking lanes as if a street were a ‘microfreeway,'” the committee says.”There is a growing consensus that streets, particularly local ones, are overdesigned, at substantial cost to society. Narrow streets are on nearly everyone’s list of energy- and cost-saving ideas. They require less asphalt and energy to begin with, and later have less effect on ambient air temperatures. Narrow street surfaces also save on site development costs, a savings that can be passed on to homebuyers and renters,” the committee adds.In addition, narrower streets slow vehicle speeds, and reduce aggressiveness such as running traffic signals by drivers.At the same time, they improve things for nonmotorists. For one thing, narrowing street lanes would allow for many city streets to include bike lanes. And these bike lanes would further calm traffic, the committee says.In a separate draft proposal regarding traffic-calming, the group suggests other measures such as increased education and enforcement, landscaping, and use of median islands, raised crosswalks, traffic circles and roundabouts, rumble strips and speed humps.The recommendation against using speed humps on emergency response routes might not bode well for supporters of their use on Midland Avenue. In April, council reversed a decision made last fall to install speed humps there. Some city residents worry about humps slowing emergency crews on Midland, and some on council contend nothing should be done on Midland until a uniform citywide policy is adopted following the committee’s recommendations.The committee suggests a range of ways to pay for its recommendations. One is to have a dedicated tax. Council already is planning to put a street maintenance and reconstruction tax on this fall’s ballot, and has considered possibly using it partly to fund traffic-calming measures.The city also could require the measures to be incorporated in new development and redevelopment, piggyback them onto other street projects, or fund them through grants or neighborhood special districts where residents want measures implemented.Under the draft plan, residents could request the adoption of traffic-calming measures, which would be considered by a review committee.A petition supported by two-thirds of residents in a project area also could force removal of measures, but possibly at neighborhood expense.Contact Dennis Webb: 945-8515, ext. 516dwebb@postindependent.comAlso on the agendaAmong other action scheduled for Thursday, Glenwood Springs City Council will:• hear a presentation from the Glenwood Springs Chamber Resort Association on its tourism marketing plan. The presentation comes as the chamber recently agreed to create a separate board to oversee tourism marketing under a $500,000 contract with the city, following questions about the chamber’s handling of that contract.• consider, in a related matter, whether to pursue renting out space at the downtown fire station to Mountain Valley Developmental Services or other prospective tenants for office use. Another option is to keep it available for a group of tourism industry representatives who want to move the city visitor center out of the chamber office on Grand Avenue to a more central downtown location. • further discuss, during a 6 p.m. work session, efforts to find a location for a whitewater park.• discuss whether council wants to ask voters if they support in concept the idea of relocating Highway 82 along the old railroad corridor adjacent to the Roaring Fork River.• hear a presentation on the city’s 2004 audit.• discuss ballot language for a tax measure expected to focus on street maintenance and reconstruction.Council will meet at City Hall, 101 W. Eighth St. The traffic efficiencies committee work session will begin at 5 p.m, followed by the whitewater park discussion. The regular meeting will begin at 7 p.m.Council also will hold a 7 a.m. breakfast meeting at City Hall.Traffic committee’s recommendations:Bike lanes, slim streets, some speed humps

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