Glenwood ponders 110 transportation ideas
While most of Glenwood Springs’ transportation debate over the past year has revolved around a single project to replace the Grand Avenue bridge, more than 100 different projects are being contemplated within the city’s much broader Long Range Transportation Plan.
Gleaned from past planning documents and gathered through public input last fall, these projects are aimed at improving vehicle, pedestrian and bicycle mobility in and around town.
Since last August, city officials and members of three city commissions have been working to update the 2003 city transportation plan to reflect existing conditions and incorporate new ideas that have come about in more recent years.
The purpose of the updated plan is to incrementally create a multi-modal transportation system that makes it easier not only for vehicles to move about Glenwood Springs, but also emphasizes pedestrian needs, bicycles and mass transit, explained Glenwood Springs City Engineer Terri Partch.
“Some of the ideas from the 2003 plan have not been completed,” she said, pointing to even earlier documents such as the city’s 1998 River Trails Master Plan, parts of which were never realized and need to be updated.
The plan update also seeks to incorporate ideas from the Colorado Department of Transportation’s 2010 Highway 82/Grand Avenue Corridor Optimization Plan and the 2013 highway corridor Access Control Plan.
Along the way, comments and specific ideas for projects have been solicited from the public through surveys, public workshops and an interactive online map that allowed citizens to look at some of the ideas being generated, add their own ideas and make comments.
“This has all been based on fairly robust public input,” said Geoff Guthrie, the city’s transportation director who has been working on the project with Partch, Community Development Director Andrew McGregor and Parks and Recreation Director Tom Barnes.
“When I say robust public and stakeholder input, I refer to 110 different vehicular, pedestrian and bicycle infrastructure projects and connections to be made around the city, all solicited in person at public meetings and online,” Guthrie said.
Recently, Guthrie added a lengthy “needs assessment” on the city’s Transportation Plan web page at http://www.glenwoodspringstransportationplan.com.
It lists each and every one of those potential projects and includes notes on the status of planning for each improvement, along with time lines, feasibility, engineering constraints and obstacles to completing them.
Some projects, such as a plan to improve the section of South Blake Avenue above the new Roaring Fork Transportation Authority BRT station at 27th Street and open the gate between there and the Roaring Fork Marketplace, are budgeted for completion this year.
Others are much more complicated, longer-term projects requiring coordination with other state and local entities, public consensus, land acquisition and in most cases a large funding source of some sort.
They include the prospective relocation of Highway 82 off of Grand Avenue, which was contemplated in the state’s Corridor Optimization Plan and the city’s 2003 transportation plan. The estimated $40 million-plus South Bridge Project and another idea to build a new bridge across the Roaring Fork River at 14th Street also fall into that category.
Numerous projects being contemplated deal with providing safe routes to the various schools in Glenwood Springs, including paved paths, sidewalks and crosswalks at some of the busier intersections.
“We sat down with Roaring Fork School District officials to talk specifically about transportation needs around schools, so that kids can walk or ride their bikes easier and what that would take,” Partch said.
The city’s appointed Transportation, River and Parks and Recreation commissions have been working on the latest draft of the updated transportation, prioritizing and ranking the various projects.
A draft set of recommendations is expected to be presented to City Council at a work session in March, and formal adoption of the new plan could come in April, Guthrie said.
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Grace Wesseling is an animal lover, a cheerleader of seven years and another soon-to-be graduate of Bridges High School, class of 2021.