Residents’ views on two city streets are decidedly one-way
A traffic-calming proposal for two Glenwood Springs streets is only riling up residents who live on them.About 40 residents of Colorado and Cooper avenues attended a meeting Thursday night regarding a plan to convert the residential portions of the streets from one-way to two-way traffic, as the streets already are in the downtown core.Not one resident spoke in favor of the idea. Most said it would destroy the neighborhood character of Colorado and Cooper and make them more dangerous for residents.”We’re going to lose a child and it’s going to prove a point and it will be unfortunate if it goes that far,” said Colorado Avenue resident Kristine Del Rio.The city is considering converting the streets to two-way as one of three pilot projects for calming, or slowing down, traffic. The two others are adding bike lanes on Blake Avenue and switching to back-in diagonal parking on Cooper between Seventh and Eighth streets. The city held meetings on those proposals earlier in the week.Colorado and Cooper residents said traffic is plenty calm on their streets already. They fear that letting traffic go two ways will only draw more vehicles into their neighborhood.”I don’t believe there’s a problem that we need to fix,” said Cooper Avenue resident Bob Noone.The city is considering converting the streets to two-way at the recommendation of traffic-calming consultant Dan Burden, who says the move would improve traffic access and circulation in neighborhoods while slowing it down.But residents said they don’t have an access problem now, and changing things would benefit motorists while punishing downtown residents who help reduce traffic problems by walking rather than driving.Only one resident of the two streets who spoke Thursday was open to the idea of making the streets two-way. Former City Council member Dan Richardson lives on Colorado and said speeding motorists are a problem.”They’re going too fast and they’re not paying attention,” he said.He agreed with other residents that pedestrian safety and not traffic flow should be the priority for the streets. But he also encouraged them to consider what experts recommend for improving safety.Council member Chris McGovern told residents she thinks making Colorado two-way would slow drivers down. Noone said he’d rather see bike lanes placed on the one-way streets to reduce vehicle speeds. The concept with bike lanes is that the traffic lanes are narrowed, causing drivers to go slower.Residents were concerned that city officials already may have made up their minds to proceed with the change. But City Council member Dave Merritt assured that residents’ viewpoints would be considered before a final decision is made on any of the pilot projects.”The whole concept behind this is it has to satisfy the public and meet local needs,” he said.Police chief Terry Wilson noted that the pilot projects are part of a larger plan to calm traffic in Glenwood and improve safety.”We’ve got to do something to control it and a lot of that is the neighborhoods,” he said.He said it’s hard to find solutions that won’t hurt someone, and pointed out that some ideas for dealing with through-traffic could impact Midland Avenue residents or those living along the railroad corridor near the Roaring Fork River, where a bypass is proposed.”Not all fixes avoid your street … and that’s a problem,” he told the Cooper and Colorado residents.City officials also heard some concerns this week about the other pilot proposals. There is some fear that bike lanes would create a false feeling of safety for cyclists, and also could create a danger of them running into car doors being opened by people parked along Blake.Good Health Store owner Joe Ruden said he doesn’t want to be a guinea pig for the back-in parking experiment, and associated delivery truck limitations, being proposed for his grocery’s block of Cooper. He worries about his customers dealing with those additional changes at a time when downtown also is facing new competition from the Glenwood Meadows commercial development.”We don’t want to see anything drive them from us out to the new mall,” he said.City officials hope to expand the back-in parking to other streets downtown, but first want to see how it works on a small scale.”If it doesn’t work here we would like to find out in a small way, not a big way,” said Mike McDill, Glenwood Springs’ new city engineer.Ruden said he’d rather see the experiment tried first one block south on Cooper, where fewer businesses are affected. But city officials said they picked Ruden’s block because it offers a good mix of retail, business and residential use and would provide a good test of the concept.Wilson said if the new parking scheme is put in place, city officials would be paying close attention to the reactions of those affected.”We’re very committed to making it work, and if it doesn’t work, doing something about it,” he said.Contact Dennis Webb: 945-8515, ext. firstname.lastname@example.org
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