Glenwood sees a future without planters for Midland

Pete FowlerGlenwood Springs, CO Colorado

GLENWOOD SPRINGS – It can be a harrowing experience when Jet Davis tries to pull onto Midland Avenue in the mornings.From his 1815 Midland Ave. residence, it’s difficult to see cars coming as he edges closer and closer to the flow of traffic.”You have to be quick,” he said.He’s hoping that plans presented Wednesday by the Loris and Associates engineering firm will slow that traffic, making the morning commutes safer.The average speed in the 25-mph zone is still around 25 to 31 mph, assistant city engineer King Lloyd said. Data from traffic sensors showed that speeds on Midland Avenue were around 32 to 37 mph at a point about halfway between 8th Street and 27th Street. The average daily traffic count in that spot was over 7,300. The preferred alternative Loris presented at an open house Wednesday outlines plans for traffic-calming devices located every 500 feet or so along Midland between Eighth and 27th streets. The devices – meant to slow traffic – would include six median strips, an elevated “speed table” like the ones on Cemetery Lane in Aspen, two speed signs with radar feedback and warnings, two locations where cars would steer around curbs alternately extending eight feet into the road, and one traffic circle.Peter Loris, with Loris and Associates, said the medians would be about 10 feet wide, compared to the 4-foot-wide planter boxes that once were in place on Midland. Causing vehicles to steer wider around traffic-calming features will be more effective at slowing them down, he added.”What you want to achieve is people to have to go around at least a half a car width,” he said.Designs depict the median strips as having vegetation surrounded by a low curb. The road would be widened at the location of the medians and other features to maintain the same lane width throughout, Lloyd said.The speed signs would display the 25-mph speed limit and flash the drivers’ speeds. At a higher speed, Lloyd said, the speed blinks faster, then flashes the words “slow down” while blue lights appear to spin on the top of the sign like a police car’s lights.Davis said the petition he signed to put the planters in depicted something far from the boxes that actually were installed. The city put in the planters as a temporary measure at five points along Midland Avenue in 2005 to slow traffic. They drew criticism from people concerned about safety and aesthetics, and city officials said before their removal that the planters no longer had an effect on speed. Two vehicles struck planters within weeks of their installation, although drivers appeared to adjust to them after that.After removing the planters in October, the Glenwood Springs City Council voted to pay Loris $250,000 for the design work necessary to put the new Midland traffic-calming project out to bid. Lloyd said the city currently has around $150,000 to start the project, but he estimated it could take four or five years to complete depending on funding considerations.Contact Pete Fowler: 384-9121pfowler@postindependent.comPost Independent, Glenwood Springs Colorado CO

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