7th Street Station elevator now open
Elevator access from Seventh Street to the south end of the new Grand Avenue pedestrian bridge officially opened to the public Tuesday, making the trek over the Colorado River in downtown Glenwood Springs a little less cumbersome.
In fact, it was an easy choice for a pair of serious-looking road cyclists visiting from out of town Tuesday afternoon to take the newly opened elevator down to Seventh Street instead of using the bike channel that was built into the stairway.
“You don’t even have to get off your bike if you do it right,” said Mike Campie of Omaha, Nebraska, who was headed for a ride up Four Mile Road to Sunlight with brother Bill Campie of Longmont.
The dual-cab elevator provides the required handicapped access to the elevated bridge that crosses the Union Pacific Railroad tracks, the Colorado River and Interstate 70 to Sixth Street.
But it’s not limited to use by those with disabilities, also serving as a way for people on bicycles, especially those with child or cargo trailers, to get up and down from Seventh Street, or just for anyone who wants to take the elevator instead of the stairs.
“We’re less than a month away from the closure of the [vehicle] bridge, and we have a lot to do to prepare for that,” said Tom Newland, Grand Avenue bridge project public information manager. “One of those is to get this elevator up and running.
“It took us a while to get it open, because we had a little more work to do to get it ready than we thought, and we had to get some paperwork in order,” Newland said.
Since the new pedestrian bridge opened in the spring, the temporary walkway that is attached to the side of the vehicle bridge has satisfied the Americans with Disabilities Act requirements. That structure will soon close now that the elevator is functional, so that work can proceed on the bridge structural wall between Seventh and Eighth streets.
The elevator tower, which came to be known as the 7th Street Station, was the result of early negotiations between the Colorado Department of Transportation and Glenwood Springs city and Downtown Development Authority officials.
Elevator access was chosen over what would have been an elongated ADA ramp that would have extended more than half a block either side of the pedestrian bridge.
“With the 7th Street Station as a centerpiece it really becomes a landmark for the downtown,” Newland said.
As designed, the elevator allows a wheelchair or other mobility device, a bike with a trailer, groups of cyclists or someone pushing a child in a stroller to enter from the east side at the top of the bridge and exit to the west down below.
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