New downtown Glenwood stop signs OK’d

Motorists pass through the busy intersection at Seventh and Colorado in downtown Glenwood Springs. The city plans to install a three-way stop at the intersection by Friday to ease back-ups on Colorado and help with pedestrian safety.
John Stroud | Post Independent

The downtown Glenwood Springs intersection of Seventh Street and Colorado Avenue near the Garfield County courthouse will become a three-way stop for motorists.

New stop signs on east- and west-bound Seventh Street should be in place by Friday, according to Dave Betley, assistant public works director for the city.

City Council last week OK’d the new stop signs at the busy intersection, which is prone to traffic back-ups on Colorado due to the current single stop sign at that corner.

The situation can be particularly bad on busy court days and at the end of the work day when Garfield County and Ninth District courts employees get off work.

The city, for at least the past couple of years, has discussed placing a three-way stop at the “T” intersection where Colorado Avenue ends at the main Union Pacific Railroad line. But traffic counts have not warranted that move.

A few minutes observing traffic patterns and the occasional near miss involving pedestrians trying to cross at that point suggest otherwise, some council members said.

“This has been a topic of many discussions at (city) Transportation Commission meetings,” said Councilwoman Kathryn Trauger, who was elected to council last month after several years on both the Transportation and Planning and Zoning commissions.

“The situation there is not likely to improve,” she said. “It is a dangerous intersection for both pedestrians and motorists.”

Councilman Steve Davis called it “the intersection of dysfunctionality in our town.”

“It’s only going to get more dysfunctional as we get more construction vehicles circulating through there,” he said of the impending Grand Avenue bridge construction and the related Eighth Street connection that will serve as a Highway 82 detour for a period of time during that project.

The city also eventually hopes to make the Eighth Street connection permanent, which will likely ease traffic congestion at Seventh and Colorado as traffic is funneled from Eighth to Midland Avenue.

Until then, the three-way stop makes sense to at least try and see if it works to ease congestion, Davis said.

“If it doesn’t work, we take them down,” he said.

Betley said work will begin today to install the new stop signs. Once in place, he advised motorists to be aware that they will now have to stop before proceeding on Seventh or turning onto Colorado.

The new stop signs will include temporary flags until motorists get used to them, and “stop sign ahead” signs will also be installed, Betley said.

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