West Midland Trail seen as important transportation link for Glenwood Springs
trail grand opening
Ribbon cutting at 1 p.m. Thursday on the new pedestrian bridge. Parking in the area is limited, and those attending are encouraged to park at the RFTA Park and Ride on Wulfsohn Road. Or, for those wanting to experience the new trail first hand, at 12:30 p.m. there will be a community bike ride from Glenwood Springs City Hall to the pedestrian bridge.
Mayor Michael Gamba sees trail as a “wonderful asset.”
A new foot and bicycle path that’s viewed as an important alternative transportation route between West Glenwood and Glenwood Meadows and on to downtown, especially during the upcoming Grand Avenue bridge detour, is nearly ready for folks to give it a try.
The city of Glenwood Springs and its project funding partners invite the public to a grand opening celebration for the new West Midland Trail and pedestrian bridge at 1 p.m. Thursday.
The ribbon cutting will take place on the new bridge that crosses over Midland Avenue between Wulfsohn and Devereux roads, near Interstate 70 exit 114. Much of the new trail is already open for use, and the bridge itself is expected to open after the Thursday ceremony.
“This is just a tremendous asset for the community, and it provides another way to connect from West Glenwood to downtown,” said Glenwood City Councilor Rick Voorhees, who represents the West Glenwood area.
“It will certainly be really important once the [Grand Avenue] bridge is closed,” Voorhees said.
That was a primary impetus for the city to pursue construction of the bridge and three-quarter-mile-long extension of what had been a dead-end trail at the west end of Glenwood Meadows, which was built when the shopping center was developed in the mid-2000s.
The trail is meant to provide a safe route for pedestrians and cyclists from the West Glenwood neighborhoods and Glenwood Springs Middle School to downtown.
That will be especially important during the Grand Avenue Bridge detour starting Aug. 14, when all Grand Avenue/Colorado 82 traffic will be detoured onto Midland Avenue and Eighth Street for more than three months. It’s also important to get people thinking about alternative ways to get around Glenwood without driving, even after the detour, Voorhees said.
“Everybody is realizing that this is going to be life-altering event for the months that the bridge is closed, and I think you will see more people out using alternative transportation when they realize it’s going be faster doing that than sitting in traffic,” he said.
“The challenge after the new bridge opens is to encourage people to make alternative transportation more amenable all of the time,” Voorhees added. “This project is part of that equation.”
A segment of the new trail link was constructed by the Roaring Fork Transportation Authority near the transit agency’s bus maintenance facility. The trail and bridge were partially funded through a $375,000 Garfield County Federal Mineral Lease District grant.
The trail ties into the existing sidewalks by the White Water Park at Devereux Road, across the Colorado River bridge and through the exit 114 roundabouts. The city is installing flashing pedestrian signals on the east side of both roundabouts for safer pedestrian and bike crossing.
In addition to the new trail connection, Voorhees noted that the city is also working to improve the section of paved bike/pedestrian path from the east end of Donegan Road to Laurel Street.
“We want to make sure it’s clean and free of debris, and also better marked,” he said. “Council is also interested in discussing some future improvements to that path. It’s all about connectivity.”
The existing sidewalk and bike lanes along Donegan Road will also be another walking or bike route that people can use to get into the core part of Glenwood while the highway bridge is down.
According to Grand Avenue Bridge project officials, the area on Sixth Street at the north end of the downtown (Colorado River/I-70) pedestrian bridge will serve as a transit center of sorts during the detour. RFTA and Ride Glenwood buses and special neighborhood shuttles will be dropping off and picking up passengers headed to and from downtown or making connections to buses and shuttles on the south side of the Colorado River.