Full speed ahead for Midland Avenue planter removal | PostIndependent.com

Full speed ahead for Midland Avenue planter removal

Pete FowlerGlenwood Springs, CO Colorado
Post Independent/Kelley Cox

The plastic flamingo perched on a Midland Avenue planter will have to find a new home.The planters that met criticism from the get go will be removed soon. They’re in shoddy condition and don’t seem to do much, if anything, in the way of slowing traffic or increasing safety.”The planters are in poor condition, and either need to be repaired, replaced or removed,” city manager Jeff Hecksel wrote in a memo. “Recent data on speeds in the area indicate the effect of the planters has worn off and they are having no effect on speed.”Planters were installed as a temporary measure in spots in the road along Midland Avenue in 2005 to slow traffic. They drew criticism from people concerned about safety and aesthetics. Two vehicles struck planters within weeks of their installation, although drivers appeared to adjust to them after that.

City engineer Mike McDill said the planters would probably be removed next week or shortly after.The Glenwood Springs City Council voted Thursday night to remove the planters and proceed ahead with engineering a design for other Midland Avenue traffic calming solutions not to exceed $250,000.Loris and Associates will design a plan for Midland Avenue. The end result should be all the necessary documents for the project to be put out to bid. It will include some public involvement process, but the exact scope of the design work may still be revised. Actual work is expected to begin in 2008 and continue for at least a couple of years.”We have taken all the necessary steps to select a design team who we believe has had the most experience working with controversial corridors and designing traffic calming improvements to handle higher volumes of traffic at speeds tolerable to the adjacent neighbors,” McDill wrote in a memo. “They have demonstrated to us that they have a system which educates neighborhoods in the use, limitations and value of various traffic calming tools.”McDill said Friday that one of Loris’ projects is Cemetery Lane in Aspen. That includes a series of “speed tables.”

No details are decided upon, but things like speed tables and median strips could become part of the plan. McDill said Loris told him it would consider speed tables, but said they would need to be used in conjunction with other measures. There’s also the possibility of “edge treatments” such as squeezing in the edges of the pavement with vegetation to make the road feel narrower, McDill said. An example would be the addition of a bike lane along Blake Avenue that narrowed the vehicle lanes.”My understanding is that drivers typically drive the speed they’re comfortable at,” he said. “If we can make a roadway safe but still a little bit less wide-open for them, the drivers tend to respond to that.”McDill said depending on who you ask, the 25 mph speed limit on much of Midland Avenue should be either lowered to 20 mph or raised to 40 mph. Traffic and speed counters from eight different locations have indicated people drive on average about 30 to 32 mph in the 25 mph area, he added.”If we can get the average to back down around 25 or so that would be good,” McDill said.Traffic has increased faster than expected along Midland Avenue. McDill said a consultant counted about 10,000 cars a day on Midland two years ago north of Seventh Street. At that time the projection was for around 16,000 cars a day by 2030, McDill said, but just about a month ago the city counted 14,000 cars passing through the area per day.

“Our traffic is growing faster than projected,” McDill said. “It’s a good reason for council to go ahead and move ahead with this and not just stay with the status quo with the planters.”Contact Pete Fowler: 945-8515, ext. 16611 pfowler@postindependent.com

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