Glenwood Springs’ Blake Avenue is going to see some big improvements
Blake Avenue is set to receive a full makeover for the entire length as it runs through Glenwood Springs after receiving grant funding from the Roaring Fork Transportation Authority.
The city received the funding from RFTA to redesign Blake Avenue and make it more pedestrian friendly, with planning and public outreach to begin soon.
“I want everyone to understand, holistically, this is going to be a massive project for design, let alone construction, and we will have to involve the public throughout the entire process,” Public Works Director Matthew Langhorst said at a Council meeting on March 16.
The redesign will cover the entirety of the Blake Avenue corridor from Seventh Street to 27th Street.
“We are trying to do the whole thing at one time,” Langhorst said. “If we try to piecemeal it, we’ll never get it right.”
The holistic approach, as Langhorst put it, plans to completely redesign all of the section from 13th Street to 27th Street, one intersection at a time. Since the city plans to look at Blake as a whole, necessary repairs are also to be made between Seventh and 13th streets, though that section remains in pretty good shape, he said.
“We’re going to get it kicked off with surveys and eventually team meetings, but the public will be dragged into this probably more than they want to be, and so will the stakeholders along the corridor,” Langhorst said.
Some of the main areas the city is already looking to focus on are Blake Avenue, between 13th Street and Hyland Park, near Valley View Hospital and between 23rd Street and 27th Street.
One of the main focuses that Glenwood Springs City Engineer Terri Partch wanted to remind Council and the public of was that RFTA awarded the grant funding for pedestrian access, and that should be kept as the main goal of the redesign, she said.
Partch said that one of the main reasons RFTA was so generous with funding was because redesigning Blake Avenue can help reinforce pedestrian movement from the Bus Rapid Transit station at 27th Street to the downtown core.
The funding is pointless if the redesign doesn’t cater to pedestrians, she said.
“It is one of our highly used and identified pedestrian corridors,” she said. “I feel strongly about the pedestrian part of it.”
Besides updating or adding sidewalks, gutters, handicap ramps and drainage systems along Blake Avenue, Langhorst also pointed out needing to have sewer system redesigns and utility lines.
“We are going to redesign the streets and everything underneath it and involve the public as much as humanly possible,” Langhorst said.
The stakeholders located on the corridor include City Market, Colorado Mountain College, Valley View Hospital, Pediatric Partners, St. Stephen Catholic Church and more.
He suggested looking into possibly putting a roundabout at 23rd Street and Blake Avenue in place of the four-way stop, and then redesign the section from 23rd Street to 27th Street to prevent what he called the “war zone” of potholes.
They will need to replace storm sewer to help the constant damage in the area.
“There is no place for the water to go,” he said. “I go to people’s front yards. They’ve created little berms to try to direct it where they want it to go. That just holds the water there and creates potholes and then the potholes get bigger and bigger.”
He added, “Basically between 24th and 26th Street we throw pallets and pallets of hot mix and cold mix at it every single week during the winter time.”
None of the initial planning is final. There will be much more to brainstorm, but Langhorst mentioned possibly trying to work up 26th Street to Palmer Avenue for additional storm sewer and road redesign.
“There’s a storm sewer up on Palmer that goes absolutely nowhere, into someone’s driveway,” he said. “Underground actually.”
The city would want to route it back to Blake, but starting those conversations is key, he said.
“I’m not afraid of more meetings to make sure this goes the right way,” Langhorst said.
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