Proposal on hold to limit truck sizes downtown
A plan to limit the length of delivery trucks that can enter downtown Glenwood Springs side streets and neighborhoods remains on City Council’s radar, but not until after the upcoming Grand Avenue bridge detour period.
Last summer, council broached the subject of placing size restrictions on commercial trucks, including those coming in and out of the U.S. Post Office at Ninth and Colorado on a regular basis, in an effort to prevent unsafe turns off of Grand Avenue that can put pedestrians and motorists at risk.
Such an ordinance would also go a long way toward preventing the occasional damage to street signs, light poles, fire hydrants and planters that sometimes occurs when truck drivers cut their turns too close.
“To me, that’s the whole purpose of this,” Mayor Michael Gamba said during a council work session on the topic Thursday. “If we don’t do something, someone is going to get run over.
“But it ought to just wait until after the detour,” he said of the planned detour period from Aug. 14 through the end of November, when the Grand Avenue bridge will be closed and demolished to make way for the new bridge.
During that time, the west Midland Avenue and Eighth Street detour will be in place for Colorado 82 and local traffic, including a one-way configuration for eastbound traffic using Colorado and Ninth Street to get back onto Grand.
While the detour is in place, there will be no way to avoid having semis and large delivery trucks on the very streets that would eventually be restricted, City Attorney Karl Hanlon said.
“We’re just going to have to deal with it up until that time,” he said.
Once an ordinance is considered by council, however, the trade-off would likely be two or three smaller delivery trucks instead of one large truck, so the volume of traffic would increase, Hanlon advised.
For the detour period, according to Tom Newland, public information manager for the bridge project, the way the detour is configured mail trucks and other large trucks will have to come into town off of Interstate 70 from Exit 114, same as everyone else.
Postal trucks would have to turn right onto Ninth Street where most of the traffic will be turning left to get back onto Grand, he said. Coming out, they would need to stay on Ninth and take a left onto Grand to get back onto the westbound detour at Eighth Street.
“All of the traffic will have to treat that square block as a roundabout, depending on which direction you’re going,” Newland said.
Newland said that project planners are reviewing and refining the detour plan, but special traffic control provisions may be needed to get delivery trucks in and out of where they must go, he said.
It will be up to restaurants and other businesses receiving goods to let their delivery people know how to get in and out of the downtown area during the detour, he said.
Perhaps a bigger concern during the detour besides trucks getting through the downtown area, pointed out City Councilman Stephen Bershenyi, will be to control truckers and others from trying to skirt the detour by using Midland Avenue between Eighth and 27th Street.
Glenwood Police Chief Terry Wilson said it will have to be one of those wait-and-see things.
“If we start to see a pattern of abuse there, we may have to station officers at those intersections,” he said, adding that having too many directional signs keeping people on the detour route can become confusing.
The biggest deterrent will likely be in the way the traffic light at Eighth and Midland is to be timed during the detour, which, according to City Engineer Terri Partch, “will strongly favor the detour traffic.”
As planned, the light cycle to let northbound traffic through that intersection will be 5 to 7 minutes. “If people have to wait for a really long time, they won’t want to do it a second time,” Partch said.
Newland said that as the detour plan is being finalized, additional traffic controls aimed at keeping people from trying to bypass the detour will likely be included.
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