Glenwood Springs’ Sixth Street revamp hits first speed bump with alternate design option |

Glenwood Springs’ Sixth Street revamp hits first speed bump with alternate design option

Glenwood Springs City Council follows neighborhood lead, votes against closing Maple Street

Ike Fredregill
Special to the Post Independent
Glenwood Springs Post Independent news graphic

A proposal to close Maple Street’s access to Sixth Street as part of a planned rebuild project was rejected by neighbors and business owners June 15, then by Glenwood Springs City Council on June 16.  

Intended to rehabilitate Sixth Street from the highway of its past to a small-town business corridor for motorists and pedestrians alike, the road revamp follows a master plan laid out by the city and Glenwood Springs Downtown Development Authority more than five years ago. 

The project recently hit the ground running with a $1.1 million grant from the Colorado Department of Transportation but stumbled briefly after one of the project planners pitched the neighborhood a curveball. 

“The DDA is funding the construction documents for the Sixth Street project between Laurel and Pine streets,” DDA Executive Director Jillian Sutherland said. “As a piece of that, the engineer we’re working with came up with a way to add four parking spots to Sixth Street, but required closing Maple Street’s access.”

With help from Glenwood Springs public information officer Bryana Starbuck, Sutherland took the idea to the people, talking with business owners in the area and leaving door hangers at residences in the neighborhoods where the most immediate impacts might be felt as well as inviting everyone to a community meeting June 15. 

“We brought the message of, ‘Hey, this is funky, let’s see what you think,’” Sutherland said. “And we had a really good turnout.” 

Typically, public feedback on major projects is sought during a period of weeks or longer, but the DDA was on a tight timeline, she explained.

“The reason it was moving so quickly is we are trying to complete these construction documents as quickly as possible,” Sutherland said, “with the goal of beginning construction in 2023.” 

Despite the short notice, people were quick to give Glenwood Springs and the DDA an answer.

“It was a pretty resounding no,” Sutherland said. “Despite the benefits, such as complete pedestrian safety on the north side of the street and additional parking, there were a lot of concerns that this would cause more problems than it would solve.” 

Starbuck said the city commonly looks into alternative designs for projects that could benefit a wider range of issues. 

“Whenever we look at a project area, we look at surrounding areas, too,” she said. “In this case, the idea was not popular at all.” 

With public feedback in hand, the alternate design was presented to the City Council during its regular meeting June 16 for a final decision.

Though originally scheduled as one of the council’s last agenda items, council members voted to address the item first.

With little discussion outside of acknowledging negative feedback from the neighborhood, Mayor Pro Tem Charlie Willman motioned to deny a permanent closure of Maple Street’s access to Sixth Street, which was seconded by council member Ingrid Wussow. 

“It would have included more parking,” Willman said Monday. “But, universally, the neighborhood felt it wasn’t a good idea.” 

Willman’s motion passed 5-1, with council member Tony Hershey voting against and Council Member Marco Dehm absent. 

While turning down this alternative, council members encouraged city staff and the DDA to continue researching options for additional parking in the redesign.

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