Glenwood Springs council seeks more revisions to highway access plan
GLENWOOD SPRINGS — Another round of suggested revisions to the proposed Highway 82 Access Control Plan from Glenwood Springs City Council will further delay action on the plan, and will likely come at some cost to the city at this point.
“Any further work involving the consultant from now on is at the city’s expense,” City Manager Jeff Hecksel advised council members at their Thursday meeting.
Colorado Department of Transportation officials in Denver have also indicated that they are unwilling to drag the process out beyond June, which is when the state’s fiscal year concludes, according to a recent letter from CDOT to the city.
At the urging of council members Todd Leahy and Mike Gamba, council proposed five changes to the draft access plan. City staff and CDOT consultants were asked to evaluate the suggested changes and report back at a future council meeting. Among them would be:
• Keeping the intersection of Grand Avenue and 10th Street as a full-movement, signalized intersection, which would maintain all four signalized intersections in downtown Glenwood Springs into the future.
• Making sure protected U-turn intersections are in place before making any access points right-in, right-out only, as recommended in some areas.
• Maintaining the full-movement signalized access into Rite Aid and the Executive Plaza at the “15th Street” intersection. The access plan currently proposes taking out the traffic light and restricting access at that point should the area re-develop in the future.
• Consider re-aligning that same business access with the nearby Glenwood Springs High School/Van Rand Center access on the other side of Grand Avenue in the future.
• Including language in the city’s proposed agreement with CDOT that the city does not intend to exercise eminent domain powers at the intersection of North Hyland Park Drive and Park Drive. That has been a concern expressed by some residents of the area, and members of the Good Shepherd Lutheran Church, which sits on that corner.
The city is being asked to join in an inter-governmental agreement with CDOT to put the Access Control Plan in place.
The long-range plan would guide future decisions for consolidating or restricting access onto and off the highway through Glenwood Springs along Grand and South Glen avenues, and the portion of Sixth Street that now carries Highway 82 traffic.
The broader access plan also takes in the stretch of Highway 82 south of Glenwood Springs, extending to the private access to the Orrison Distributing plant.
Any access restrictions outlined in the 20-year master plan would only be implemented in the event of re-development that results in a 20 percent increase in traffic, serious safety concerns, or major public works projects along the highway corridor.
Council heard several more comments from the public Thursday, including members of the Citizens to Save Grand Avenue group, who remain opposed to the access plan.
Critics say the plan gives CDOT too much power to eliminate access from city side streets and business accesses, and to limit pedestrian movements across Grand Avenue.
The Save Grand group, which wants Highway 82 taken off Grand Avenue and moved to a bypass, has asked that the city delay action on the access plan until after the ongoing study for the replacement of the Grand Avenue Bridge is complete. The group also argues that a broader regional study is needed to link all of the various transportation-related projects that are currently being considered.
A majority of City Council has been inclined to proceed with the access plan, which they say will be needed as long as Highway 82 and Grand Avenue are one.
On a related note, Gamba also asked that CDOT look at the timing of traffic lights along Grand Avenue.
“If the lights could be better coordinated and timed more appropriately, traffic could move more smoothly because it would hit fewer lights,” Gamba suggested. “Pedestrian signalization is also challenging, especially downtown. We need to address that.”
Council agreed it would like to schedule a separate work session with CDOT officials to address the signal issue.
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