Residents share visions of Grand Avenue
More roundabouts, a new “neighborhood” street and a third Interstate 70 interchange in Glenwood Springs might help calm traffic on Grand Avenue. So might opening Midland Avenue to trucks.All were among the ideas several Glenwood residents brought to the table Wednesday afternoon. They were part of a roundtable design workshop aimed at reclaiming Grand Avenue with traffic-calming measures.The afternoon session, although sparsely attended, followed in the steps of the previous day’s workshop where residents crafted a vision of a slower, less congested Grand Avenue.Residents pored over city maps and transparent overlays, drawing in colored markers their suggestions for improving traffic flow through the city.Part of the solution, said Sheila Markowitz, might be to allow trucks on Midland “so it shares the burden with Grand.”Besides the trucks, there is the sheer volume of traffic coming off I-70, said Dana Chiappinelli. That traffic has to be better distributed through town. He suggested another exit and entrance from the interstate at Two Rivers Park. It would cross the Colorado River and connect to the Community Center.”Every car that goes through town has only two ways to get on I-70. The biggest thing to me is a third entrance to I-70,” he said.Chiappinelli also had an idea about how to get cars and trucks through the city faster during rush hour. The Tappan Zee Bridge, a major commuting route to New York City, is transformed during the morning and evening rush hours into a one-way thoroughfare of eight lanes.Along those lines, but on a much smaller scale, a new, two-lane “neighborhood” street along the rail corridor between Grand Avenue and the Roaring Fork River could fit the bill for moving traffic through town, Chiappinelli said. But he would not like to see it as a bypass. Rather it could be a smaller city street “so the river corridor keeps its character,” he said.Markowitz disagreed. “I think we should leave the river corridor as is. People are saying they don’t want to give up the one spot in Glenwood that doesn’t have traffic on it.”For many years the city has eyed the corridor as a possible site for moving Highway 82 off Grand Avenue. A bicycle and walking path now winds through the corridor.For some in the design workshop Wednesday, a bypass was not a concept they wanted to discuss.”Our committee wants to be careful not to get into the bypass discussion,” said Bob Andre, who sits on the city’s traffic efficiency committee. “We want to make sure that we come out of (the workshops) with things that can really be done, and a bypass falls out of that.”New roads won’t necessarily relieve traffic, said traffic-calming consultant Dan Burden. “I encourage people, don’t build roads unless you will take total control of your land use.” New roads bring new businesses and more traffic.Part of what the committee will bring to city council is a pilot project to show just how effective a traffic-calming device can be. Larry Heinrichs passed around a photo illustration of the Grand Avenue wing street paved with decorative bricks and sporting sidewalk tables and chairs and planters. Although it looks like a pathway, it’s still a street, Heinrichs said.Although the city attempted to close the eastside wing some years ago, business people along the short street strongly objected to the move and the city withdrew its plan.At the end of the day, after the maps were marked up with multicolored lines and notes, Burden congratulated the participants.”Once people understand what the tools are (for reclaiming congested roadways) … they can have some workable solutions,” he said.Today’s workshop, set for 10 a.m. to noon at Glenwood Springs City Hall, will present the collective vision for calming traffic on Grand Avenue. With community response invited, it will also list the major projects in priority and a plan for a pilot project.For more information about the workshop, call the city engineer, 384-6435, or the Glenwood Springs Chamber Resort Association, 945-6589.Contact Donna Gray: 945-8515, ext. email@example.com
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