Post Independent opinion: Positive steps being taken to ensure safety at local intersections
Recent efforts to improve safety at several intersections in Glenwood Springs are, if acted upon, a sign of good things to come.
For example, the Highway 82 and 27th Street intersection, where the Rio Grande Trail also crosses 27th Street, was an accident waiting to happen. But we don’t have to wait any longer, after a 15-year-old girl was struck there in late July. Fortunately, her injuries were minor, but it is a wake-up call to fix the problem before a more serious accident occurs there.
City Engineer Mike McDill says an ad hoc work group is forming to work on alternatives to improve safety at this intersection. He has spoken with representatives from the Roaring Fork Transportation Authority and the Colorado Department of Transportation, but meetings and discussion will not likely happen before winter. He encourages anyone from bike clubs, trail groups or the general public interested in becoming involved with the work group to contact him at 384-6413 or email@example.com.
Downtown, Glenwood Springs City Councilman Todd Leahy has proposed changing four intersections (Eighth and Bennett, Ninth and Bennett, 10th and Blake, and 10th and Pitkin) from two-way stops to four-way stops and making two others on Seventh Street (Colorado and Cooper) three-way stops.
The 10th Street intersections are heavily used by Glenwood Elementary students, and the two on Seventh Street are at times busy with tourists, Leahy said.
Adding a few stop signs is a quick, affordable way to make the city more pedestrian friendly. And if the city can create safe routes to school, parents won’t feel like they have to drive their kids, saving them time and taking more cars off the streets.
A three-way stop at Colorado and Seventh would potentially have the added benefit of moving rush-hour traffic out of downtown more quickly, as cars currently get backed up on Colorado waiting in vain for a chance to turn onto Seventh.
There are a few minor downsides to this plan. For one, adding stop signs to the side streets makes it a little slower to get through a town already legendary for its rush-hour gridlock. While the side streets have never been an effective route for traffic passing through town, they have been a valuable alternative for certain trips within town.
It’s likely that residents in affected neighborhoods would not object to traffic-calming measures, though forcing vehicles to stop and go more frequently will increase pollution and noise, thereby trading one vehicle impact for another.
But no society should make automobile convenience a higher priority than public safety.
We encourage City Council to approve these additional stop signs, and encourage interested residents to join the Highway 82-27th Street work group. These are opportunities to improve safety, which will further encourage people to walk and ride their bikes around town.
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