Federal agencies get together to create livable communities | PostIndependent.com

Federal agencies get together to create livable communities

Sabrina HarrisPost IndependentGlenwood Springs, CO Colorado
Post Independent Photo/Kelley Cox

Soon it will be safer and easier for cyclists and pedestrians to get around town. Last June, the Department of Transportation, the Department of Housing and Urban Development and the Environmental Protection Agency announced the Interagency Partnership for Sustainable Communities. These three agencies have partnered together to ensure that housing and transportation goals are met while simultaneously protecting the environment, promoting equitable development, and helping to address the challenges of climate change. Together they have outlined the six guiding “livability principles” they will use to coordinate federal transportation, environmental protection, and housing investments at their respective agencies. The Partnership for Sustainable Communities’ six livability principles are: 1 Provide more transportation choices. Develop safe, reliable and economical transportation choices to decrease household transportation costs, reduce our nation’s dependence on foreign oil, improve air quality, reduce greenhouse gas emissions and promote public health. 2 Promote equitable, affordable housing. Expand location- and energy-efficient housing choices for people of all ages, incomes, races and ethnicities to increase mobility and lower the combined cost of housing and transportation. 3 Enhance economic competitiveness. Improve economic competitiveness through reliable and timely access to employment centers, educational opportunities, services and other basic needs by workers as well as expanded business access to markets. 4Support existing communities. Target federal funding toward existing communities – through such strategies as transit-oriented, mixed-use development and land recycling – to increase community revitalization, improve the efficiency of public works investments, and safeguard rural landscapes. 5 Coordinate policies and leverage investment. Align federal policies and funding to remove barriers to collaboration, leverage funding and increase the accountability and effectiveness of all levels of government to plan for future growth, including making smart energy choices such as locally generated renewable energy. 6 Value communities and neighborhoods. Enhance the unique characteristics of all communities by investing in healthy, safe and walkable neighborhoods – rural, urban or suburban. U.S. Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood said, “Creating livable communities will result in improved quality of life for all Americans and create a more efficient and more accessible transportation network that serves the needs of individual communities. Fostering the concept of livability in transportation projects and programs will help America’s neighborhoods become safer, healthier and more vibrant.”In short, this means that multimodal transportation will be an equal part of all new infrastructure projects getting funding, and the automobile will no longer be the prime consideration in federal transportation planning. DOT is integrating the needs of pedestrians and bicyclists in federally funded road projects. In the new policy, a higher priority will be given to projects that adhere to the new policy statement. The policy will discourage transportation investments that negatively affect cyclists and pedestrians and encourage investments that go beyond the minimum requirements and provide facilities for bicyclists and pedestrians of all ages and abilities.DOT Secretary LaHood summed up the outcome of the new policy best when he said it will promote “cleaner, healthier air; less congested roadways; and more livable, safe, cost-efficient communities.”

Donegan Road will be closed to through traffic between Vista Drive and Sunny Acres Road. The closure will start April 5 at 7 a.m. and will remain closed until June 7. Residents lying west of Sunny Acres Road will still have one-way access from the east only. The closure is to facilitate the installation of a storm drain system, retaining walls, and to complete the sidewalks and paving. The city of Glenwood Springs and Martinez Western would like to think you for your patience while this work takes place.Landscaping work is taking place at the 27th Street and Midland roundabout. Please use caution in this area.Work is progressing on the Devereux Pedestrian Bridge project at Two Rivers Park this week as well.Sewer Force main work is also occurring at the Eighth Street Bridge. No traffic disruptions are anticipated in conjunction with this work.The Grand Avenue Pedestrian Bridge contractor will continue to install its debris containment system over I-70 and the Colorado River this week. The pedestrian bridge will be open to pedestrian and bike traffic this week and next, but will close April 5. At that time alternate access across the Colorado River will be via the bridge in Two Rivers Park (southwest of the Interstate, accessible through the underpass at Exit 116) or by using the free Ride Glenwood bus system.GAPP II construction continues to remove and replace the east lanes of Grand Avenue from Sayre Park to 25th Street, with single lane traffic in both directions on the west side of Grand Avenue. Expect delays, especially at peak morning and evening commute hours.Sabrina Harris is transportation manager for the city of Glenwood Springs.

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