Glenwood’s Seventh Street to reopen to vehicles Friday
The Glenwood Springs City Council heard plenty of passionate opinions Thursday night concerning whether or not Seventh Street should reopen to traffic.
“This is by far the most comments we have gotten on anything since I have been on council,” said Glenwood Springs Mayor Jonathan Godes. “It is pretty overwhelming. … The community said they want this open.”
Ultimately, council in a 4-3 vote decided to reopen Seventh Street to vehicular traffic “as soon as possible.”
As soon as possible came late Friday afternoon, according to City Manager Debra Figueroa.
Councilors Tony Hershey, Paula Stepp, Rick Voorhees and Shelley Kaup voted in favor of reopening Seventh Street. Mayor Godes, Steve Davis and Charlie Willman did not support the original motion.
The official vote on whether or not to reopen the billed “Festival Street,” which cost over $2 million dollars to build, came a little after 9 p.m. Thursday following lengthy public comment.
“I’d like to see Seventh Street permanently closed to vehicles but remain open for pedestrians and non-motorized modes of transport and even consider maybe creative ways to get people with mobility issues into the area with specialized access,” said Glenwood resident Sarah Gordon. “This location is really a prime spot for special memories and bringing the community together. We are not just talking about a street or a pedestrian mall, we are actually talking about a public space where we can interact.”
While some, like Gordon, favored keeping Seventh Street closed to vehicles, the vast majority of residents in attendance Thursday night believed it should reopen to traffic.
“I know the traffic situation is the biggest reason why people don’t come downtown. If we don’t open up Seventh Street that traffic congestion is going to continue; this theory about downtown being always crowded will continue,” said Cooper Wine and Spirits Owner Kevin Brady. “It’s actually a mixed-use space now if you look at it. We have 20-foot sidewalks on each side of the street. We have an enormous under bridge area currently in place. …I think people will get a clear idea that this is a mixed-use street. It’s there now, let’s go ahead and open it up.”
Although Seventh street will reopen to vehicles, council, at a future meeting, may decide upon weekend closures during busy holidays such as Memorial and Labor Day weekends.
“We put up with a lot of noise, a lot of inconvenience. We put up with frustration. We gave you patience and tolerance,” said Garfield County Commissioner John Martin. “Do the right thing, keep it open.”
Seventh Street reopened to vehicles late Friday afternoon.
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