Glenwood council, cops discuss speed on Grand Avenue
Post Independent Staff
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado
GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colorado – Glenwood Springs City Council and Glenwood Springs Police Chief Terry Wilson on Thursday morning discussed solutions to enforce current speed limits on Grand Avenue through town.
The discussion arose after Glenwood Resident Cheryl Cain, who lives on Grand Avenue, voiced extreme frustration at council’s March 4 meeting with her perception of the Glenwood Police Department’s lack of enforcement on Grand Avenue.
“There is no speed limit on Grand Avenue,” Cain told councilors and Wilson at Thursday’s meeting. “It’s as fast as you want to go.”
Cain, a 22-year resident of Glenwood Springs, requested that the city take some steps to enforce the speed limit through town. However, Wilson said that with a major highway through town, traffic is always going to be a problem.
“We live in a town that generates a lot of traffic for the size of town which Glenwood is,” Wilson said. “It’s always been an issue. It’s never going to go away or be solved. It’s always going to be a problem.”
Police issued more than 3,100 traffic citations in Glenwood Springs in 2009. Which is a very high number for a town the size of Glenwood, Wilson said, adding that the police are “brutally motivated,” to enforce traffic in town because of the sheer volume on a daily basis. He estimated that more than 30,000 vehicles travel through Glenwood on Grand Avenue on any given day.
Council requested that Wilson develop strategies to enforce the speed limits on Grand Avenue to be discussed at a future meeting. Ideas tossed around at the meeting included speed sting operations, mobile speed radar that indicate a motorist’s speed, and even digital speed limit signs such as the ones that were installed on Midland Avenue.
Wilson said that the strategies are pretty easy to develop, but it’s paying for those strategies – with limited resources in staff and funding – that is difficult.
“The key is affording the strategies,” he said. “If we can find a way to strengthen enforcement in the concentrated environment and within the budgetary restraints, that is what they are looking for.”
However, Wilson said that enforcement of the speed limit is only half of the solution. He said that lowering the speed limit on the south end of Grand Avenue from 35 mph, to 25 mph, from Sayre Park to 23rd Street, would also help.
Currently, the speed limit on Grand Avenue is 25 mph from the 166 exit onto Sixth Street, across the bridge, all the way to Sayre Park. But, the speed limit bumps up to 35 mph at Sayre Park through the south end of town.
“You are never going to do it with enforcement alone,” he said.
It’s Wilson’s opinion that changing the speed limit would help with enforcement, and would also reduce the risk of accidents along the section of highway, too. The problem is that speed limits on Grand Avenue are set by the Colorado Department of Transportation, not Glenwood Springs, because it’s a state highway.
That is an issue that Mayor Bruce Christensen took exception with, saying that CDOT officials have never been willing to compromise with the city on traffic issues along the section of highway through town. He said that it’s time for a change.
“We have to take control,” Christensen said. “They have to be willing to compromise, and they have never been willing to work with us on anything.”
Council and Wilson agreed that a conversation with CDOT about lowering the speed limit through Glenwood from Eighth Street to 23rd Street is needed. And Wilson said that with the Grand Avenue Paving Project phase II currently under way, it’s a perfect time to have that conversation.
“Hopefully that is something that we can get some help from CDOT on,” Wilson said.
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