No middle ground as CDOT nixes Grand Ave. medians |

No middle ground as CDOT nixes Grand Ave. medians

GLENWOOD SPRINGS ” Incorporating medians into the Grand Avenue Paving Project most likely won’t work, Colorado Department of Transportation officials said Thursday.

To make permanent medians fit, CDOT would have to take away either parking or left turns from the downtown portion of Grand Avenue, CDOT Region 3 director Ed Fink said.

City Council members seemed unwilling to trade either parking or left turns for what essentially would have been a beautification project to spruce up the middle of the highway with trees or plants.

“I find that very disappointing. The purpose was to try to reclaim it as a city street,” Councilman Bruce Christensen said during a work session Thursday with CDOT.

The discussion came as city and state officials prepare for the repaving of Grand Avenue with concrete. The $4.2 million project is slated to run from September 2004 through May 2005, and will run from the Grand Avenue Bridge south to as far as 20th Street.

The turn lanes on Grand Avenue that now exist are 11 feet wide, but since CDOT standards call for medians to be 14 feet wide, one of the two suggested changes would have to be made.

“I have big reservations about putting any obstacles or hazards out there,” CDOT Region 3 traffic and safety engineer Jim Nall said. “If we were to do something, I’d want to do it to our standards.”

Nall said the GAPP project might not be the right time to beautify the highway.

But councilors Christensen, Chris McGovern and Larry Beckwith all expressed concern that the coming work will allow cars and trucks to travel faster. This would be the opposite effect of what they’re trying to achieve, which is to slow traffic downtown.

“I think some of us fear it’s going to be worse after it’s finished, and that would be a horrible situation,” Christensen said.

Other traffic calming measures suggested by council members were speed humps and slightly-raised crosswalks.

Fink advised against using humps because of the noise they could create, but he said CDOT engineers would look at the feasibility of using crosswalks that are raised an inch or so off the rest of the road.

“We will evaluate that, but I’m going to tell you right now I won’t ask these people to do something that would violate our standards,” Fink said.

Also discussed at the work session:

– Karen Rowe said the design for GAPP is 75 percent complete.

– She announced that part of the road contractor’s deal will include giving weekly updates in the local newspapers and holding public meetings during the project to allow people to express any concerns they have as construction moves forward.

CDOT will also provide a public information officer for the project.

Contact Greg Masse: 945-8515, ext. 511

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