Side street traffic controls coming to downtown Glenwood Springs
Glenwood Springs will look to place new stop signs and/or flashing pedestrian lights at four downtown intersections where conflicts with schoolchildren are common, but the city is not inclined to fully implement a neighborhood group’s long list of suggestions.
Members of the ad hoc Imagine Glenwood group were before City Council in October requesting traffic controls at more than a half dozen downtown intersections, as well as temporary speed humps to be moved around in areas east and west of Grand Avenue.
The group also requested a reduced-speed “school zone” on Blake Avenue in front of Colorado Mountain College’s Glenwood Center, and a temporary three-way stop sign in south Glenwood at Midland and Mount Sopris Drive.
Council, after a Dec. 1 work session discussion, was agreeable to placing a four-way stop or pedestrian-activated flashing beacons at the intersections of Ninth and 10th on Pitkin Avenue west of Grand, and at those same intersections on Blake Avenue east of Grand.
Those are the suggested routes for students crossing Grand Avenue to and from Glenwood Springs Elementary School.
The pedestrian safety measures will likely be contingent on the city receiving a federal Safe Routes to School grant that it intends to submit for, City Engineer Terri Partch advised council.
The grant could also be used to establish a pedestrian crossing on Midland Avenue near the Mountain Market for children heading to and from Sopris Elementary School, she said.
Imagine Glenwood has been lobbying for ways to control speeds and deter through traffic on side arterial streets such as Blake and Pitkin avenues. Among the group’s requests were to place four-way stops at the 10th Street intersections with Pitkin and Blake, and at Ninth and Cooper.
It also asked for a stop sign on the one-way section of Colorado Avenue at 10th, and three-way stops at Seventh and Cooper and at Eighth and Pitkin where traffic has increased due to the new Eighth Street connection west to Midland.
Additional stops signs and other forms of speed control in the downtown area should also be considered, the group said.
Partch said that any sort of traffic controls must meet criteria related to vehicle, bike and pedestrian traffic volumes, crash history and other factors outlined in the state and federal uniform traffic code, which the city has adopted.
“I believe that the city can implement more effective solutions for speed control than stop signs,” Partch wrote in a memo to City Council outlining the issue.
“Placing unnecessary stop signs causes drivers to run them, with the expectation that no one is ever in the intersection,” she related. “This creates a false sense of security for pedestrians … along with an enforcement issue for the police department.”
Rather than stop signs, more effective solutions include the installation of flashing pedestrian beacons at crosswalks, “elephant ear” extensions at intersections, raised crosswalks, mini-roundabouts and designated bicycle lanes, she said.
However, each of those solutions would be more expensive and take more time to implement, Partch added.
Designating a school zone on Blake between 14th and 15th streets makes some sense, she said.
Three-way stop signs at Seventh and Cooper and at Eighth and Pitkin should be further studied after the new Grand Avenue bridge is complete, Partch also recommended. Same with the suggested temporary stop at Midland and Mount Sopris in south Glenwood.
“I believe we would create a dangerous situation for drivers coming down from the Four Mile corridor,” she said in the memo. “Before we set control here, I would want to do a full study.
The intersection of Eighth and Pitkin also needs further study after the Grand Avenue bridge detour period starting in August 2017, she said. The detour will result in the 800 block of Pitkin being closed to southbound traffic for three months.