Town, residents determine future look of Third St.
Carbondale has $400,000 budgeted for streetscape improvements to Third Street, and a group recently walked the street from end to end to get community feedback.
Third Street has become a pretty high traffic area for vehicles, pedestrians and cyclists, because it’s the corridor between Main Street, the library and the Third Street Center, said Andrea Korber, a principal at Land+Shelter, which led the community walking tour that included members of public works and Glenwood Springs engineering firm SGM.
The street’s design is quirky — old town, rural character bookended by commercial, institutional areas, Korber said.
Design of the streetscape improvements is in its brainstorming phase and almost completely unwritten, though the town plans to fix some drainage issues where sidewalks are well-known to hold ponds in rainstorms.
In the past, Carbondale has gotten some pushback on street improvements, such as the wide, swooping curbs on the corners on Main Street, so the town wanted to get public comment early on what the community wants to see happen with Third Street.
Korber had already done some community outreach for the Carbondale Branch Library, where she helped incorporate input from fifth- through seventh-graders and developed a local artists competition for the building’s public art installations.
During the walking tour, residents offered ideas including developing a community garden and expanding ditch access to more homeowners for wild water irrigation.
One message participants have made clear already is that the stretch between the library and Main Street should keep its “residential rural” character rather than being formalized with curbs, gutters and striped parking, said Korber.
Residents also have the corridor’s trees on their minds, and the tour had a strong showing of landscape architects, arborists and members of the tree board, she said.
Some brainstormed on how to handle a tree-parking conflict in some areas, talking about making some buffering for trees planted around the on-street parking.
Parking alone will give designers plenty to think about, and Korber said many people want to design parking block by block rather than taking a cookie-cutter approach to the whole area.
Third Street is also bookended on both sides by a bike path, and developing an asphalt connection is some of the low-hanging fruit of this project, said Korber.
A connecting bike path along Third Street would further the town’s goal of making a multi-modal downtown, “which is important to me and I think the rest of the community,” she said.
Burying some overhead utility lines also came up on the wish list, though that project might be harder and costlier than it sounds.
An SGM engineer on the tour said it could be done, but he pointed out that burying lines on one street has a domino effect in which you have to bury the lines they’re connected to.
“But it’s good to bring those things up because we can at least make sure we don’t take steps now to prevent burying the lines later if that’s the direction the community wants to go,” said Korber.
The next step will be a community meeting May 19 at Town Hall, where comments submitted so far will be ratified, and community members will get another opportunity to chime in.
Korber encourages community members to email her comments on the direction they think improvements should take. Email her at email@example.com.
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