Glenwood council gives preliminary approval to new Midland Avenue plan |

Glenwood council gives preliminary approval to new Midland Avenue plan

Pete Fowler
Glenwood Springs Post Independent

GLENWOOD SPRINGS ” Larry Heinrichs is thrilled about the possibility of walking across Midland Avenue at 13th Street without feeling his life is in danger.

He’s all for the plan to slow traffic to the posted 25 mph on Midland Avenue. And the 14 “traffic calming” features to go in every 400 to 800 feet along the street between 27th Street and Eighth Street will only add less than a minute to traverse the corridor, according to his calculations.

Heinrichs said at 25 mph it takes 2.88 minutes to drive the stretch of road, while at 35 mph it takes about 2.06 minutes.

“A couple of years ago I didn’t even know what the term ‘walkability’ meant,” he said. “I’m really excited to see we’re doing something about it.”

Heinrichs is a Glenwood Springs resident who’s served on the city’s Traffic Calming Committee and Transportation Commission.

City engineer Mike McDill and Peter Loris of Loris and Associates, Inc. presented the plan for Midland Avenue to the City Council Thursday night. The council approved proceeding with planning for implementation of the first of three phases of the plan, which is estimated to cost about $290,000 of the plan’s $1.7 million price tag. Phase one would include cheaper features like the speed tables, display signs and raised pedestrian crossings.

One key goal of the design is to maintain the road’s capacity, currently at 7,000 or 8,000 cars a day and growing. Another is slowing driving speeds from an average of about 32 mph down to the posted 25 mph.

“It’s not like everyone who turns onto Midland Avenue suddenly becomes a demon and turns crazy there, but there are some that do,” said city engineer Mike McDill.

The 14 devices proposed are two entry islands, three speed display signs with radar feedback, alternating curb extensions, three speed tables, two medians, two raised pedestrian crossings with an island, a traffic circle.

The entry islands and medians would incorporate monoliths made of rough cut rose sandstone columns, designed to add character and make people more aware they’re driving through neighborhoods, in addition to slowing traffic by forcing cars to navigate around them.

Before approving the motion, the City Council praised the phased aspect of the project. Some raised concerns about aesthetics of the first phase, pushing traffic back onto Grand Avenue, lack of accommodations for bicyclists, and spending $1.7 million on one road when there’s many other transportation projects and roads that need funds.

City Councilor Dave Johnson asked if connection with the proposed south bridge project was considered when coming up with the Midland Avenue plan.

“I see a couple competing interests there,” he said.

The proposed but not yet approved south bridge project would provide a secondary access route between Midland Avenue and Highway 82 near the airport.

McDill said a study for the corridor optimization process ranks a route through Midland Avenue and the south bridge lower than at least two or three other alternatives to keeping Highway 82 traffic on Grand Avenue.

Councilor Shelley Kaup, who was elected in November, cast the only no vote against approving planning for phase one.

“I do have some concern with the speed tables. I think that part of the design is a little too aggressive and I’m concerned about traffic being pushed back onto Grand Avenue,” she said.

She also said the items in phase one seem to be the least aesthetically pleasing and suggested other features be incorporated into phase one.

Johnson said, “It’s a wonderful looking roadway and I’m sure it’s going to serve the neighborhood well. The price tag is pretty stunning though.”

Councilor Russ Arensman, who also joined the council in November, said he’s concerned about where the project’s priority falls among all the road projects that need funding and that the plan might prevent Midland Avenue from becoming an alternative to Highway 82 just as the corridor optimization process is beginning.

Mayor Bruce Christensen said he objected to spending that much money on one street above others.

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