Single-minded citizens scuttle conversion of one-way streets
Residents of Cooper and Colorado avenues in Glenwood Springs will continue to enjoy that peaceful easy feeling they say they get from living on one-way streets.Heeding overwhelming opposition from residents, the city has dropped plans for making the streets two-way.At the same time, it is considering installing diagonal parking that would increase parking spots on the streets and effectively narrow them from two lanes to one, to further encourage drivers to ease off the accelerator.The city had considered the change from one-way to two-way streets at the recommendation of consultant Dan Burden, a proponent of so-called traffic-calming measures aimed at slowing down vehicles and making streets safer for nonmotorists.At a meeting in March, residents of the streets said they think making the streets two-way would make things worse rather than better. Cooper residents especially believe their street is more pedestrian-friendly because it is one-way.Cooper resident Bob Noone was glad to hear city officials had reversed their plans.”I’m very happy that they listened and understood, and I think made the right decision,” he said. “Given the overwhelming comments opposed to converting to two-way traffic, I think it would have been very difficult for the city to have made any other decision.”Said city traffic engineer Mike McDill, “That’s why we have public meetings, to hear what we may not know otherwise about some of our projects. … We got a pretty strong message from both neighborhoods that they at least saw the one-way streets being a safer environment for them.”Still, the city is interested in trying to make the streets safer yet, while adding parking to boot. It is mailing letters to residents in an effort to gauge whether support exists for creating diagonal parking on both sides of both streets. Some residents of the streets first suggested the approach to the city.”The more we thought about that, the more we liked the idea,” McDill said.He said diagonal parking could add as much as 60 percent more parking on the streets, where some residents compete for parking with people doing business downtown.The diagonal parking also would narrow the streets to one lane, in theory further calming traffic.Noone said he thinks the lower residential part of Cooper, where there already is diagonal parking on one side of the street and parallel parking on the other, effectively is one lane now.Noone prefers the idea of adding a bike lane as a traffic-calming measure, as the city is planning to do on Blake Avenue in mid-May. He thinks the ideal solution for Colorado and Cooper is a mix of diagonal parking on one side and parallel parking and a bike lane on the other.But McDill said bike lanes aren’t needed on every city street. He also wants the city to take incremental steps on traffic-calming to see how measures such as bike lanes work in practice.The city also has decided to proceed with back-in diagonal parking in the commercial stretch of Cooper ending at Seventh Street. It originally planned to try the approach just between Seventh and Eighth streets, but now plans to extend the experiment to Ninth.Burden considers back-in parking to be safer, but it’s a novel idea in Glenwood. The owners of the Good Health Store on lower Cooper worry that it could drive away customers.McDill said the city is asking Cooper and Colorado residents whether they would be interested in trying back-in parking on their streets if the city adds diagonal parking. He thinks back-in parking would be better, but also sees value in moving slow on introducing the concept in Glenwood.Count Noone among those who have reservations about adjusting to the idea.”Pulling up and backing in, that’s going to be a challenge I think for a lot of people, myself included,” he said.Contact Dennis Webb: 945-8515, ext. firstname.lastname@example.org
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