One-way access to Glenwood Springs parking garage stays for now
GLENWOOD SPRINGS — Access to the new city parking deck at Ninth and Cooper will remain limited to one direction from the 10th Street side onto Cooper Avenue, at least until a promised traffic circulation analysis for the downtown area is completed.
At the time it gave final approval for the new $4.5 million parking facility last year, Glenwood Springs City Council included direction to city staff to complete a circulation study as a condition.
One purpose of the study is to determine if the 900 block of Cooper Avenue should be opened to two-way traffic as a way to ease vehicle access into and out of the parking garage.
The main entry into the parking facility is off of Cooper Avenue, which is a one-way street northbound between 13th to Ninth streets. That means there is no way into the parking garage from the Ninth Street side, except by going around the block.
“I wouldn’t have voted for a parking structure if I thought there would be only one direction in and out,” Councilman Todd Leahy said at the Thursday night council meeting.
“We’re going into our summer season, when we’ll have a whole bunch of tourists coming into town who won’t know how to get in to park,” he said, initially urging a quick fix to convert that one block of Cooper to two-way traffic.
However, when it authorized the circulation study council also agreed to involve residents of the area in an advisory role regarding Cooper Avenue.
A handful of residents and property owners from the 900 block of Cooper said at the Thursday meeting that they still want that opportunity before any changes are made.
“I’m totally opposed to two-way traffic, especially if you eliminate the diagonal parking on the east side of street,” Ron Liston said. “If you do make it two-way, at least keep the diagonal parking.”
City Engineer Terri Partch said the street in that block could accommodate two-way traffic with diagonal parking on the east side, but only by eliminating the parallel parking on the west side. Or, parallel parking could be allowed for on both sides of the street, she said.
The broader circulation analysis, which has a budget of $50,000, was meant to look at traffic patterns throughout the downtown area, including a suggestion to install a three-way stop at the corner of Seventh Street and Colorado Avenue.
The study was put on hold until the recent completion of the access control plan for Grand Avenue, Partch said.
Council, including Leahy, ultimately agreed that the city should honor its commitment to complete the study before making any changes to Cooper.
“Anytime you start to monkey around with these things without understanding all the impacts first, you end up with unforeseen impacts,” Councilman Matt Steckler said. “And, the residents need to have a voice in this.”
“We did promise you that you could participate in this decision,” Leahy said, addressing the Cooper Avenue residents, but expressing frustration that the study wasn’t completed before the summer season.
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