The sales pitch for the Access Control Plan
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado
On March 8, the Glenwood Springs Post Independent contained a full page ad (under a similar title) devoted to proclaiming the purported virtues of the Grand Avenue/State Highway 82 Access Control Plan. But after reading this ad carefully, I question whether most of these claimed virtues will benefit Glenwood Springs in any way. On the contrary, I am convinced they will do quite the opposite. In the following paragraphs, quotes from the ad are followed by my commentary.
“Recent studies have recommended landscaped medians, traffic calming, and wider sidewalks in the downtown area as methods to create a more pleasant and inviting pedestrian and business environment.” These actions will eliminate Grand Avenue parking, which most assuredly will not create a more inviting business environment. And no way will the proposed elimination of stop lights at 8th and 10th Streets create a more pleasant pedestrian experience.
“The Access Control Plan ensures the corridor is well thought-out, [and] that the public gets to discuss and participate in the decisions about access along Grand Avenue …” I beg to differ. The only well thought-out solution to Grand Avenue traffic congestion is, as stated in CDOT’s very own Corridor Optimization Plan, another route through Glenwood Springs. And to date, the public has been given very little opportunity to learn about and comment on the Access Control Plan, and has essentially been excluded from the decision process.
“Traffic volumes and congestion on Grand Avenue are projected to increase. Local residents and commuters … trying to move through Glenwood will be looking for ways to get around backed-up traffic on Grand Avenue, likely by moving … onto Colorado, Cooper and Blake Avenues to avoid being stuck on Grand Avenue.” The Access Control Plan does absolutely nothing to reduce the growing traffic volume on Grand Avenue, so still more traffic will move onto Colorado, Cooper and Blake Avenues.
“The Access Control Plan will keep the through traffic on Grand Avenue, and help maintain the safe, walkable character of the residential areas of Colorado, Cooper and Blake Avenues.” There is no way of forcing through-traffic to stay on Grand Avenue. So much for maintaining safe, walkable Colorado, Cooper and Blake avenue residential areas.
“The Access Control Plan will also help the downtown businesses maintain and grow their customer bases. If traffic is backed up on Grand Avenue and customers can’t easily get to their downtown destinations, they will begin to look for other places to shop, eat or do business.” And “The Access Control Plan safeguards development rights in the city.” Under the Access Control Plan, the growth or development of businesses which would cause their traffic to increase by 20 percent or more would have their access restricted to right turns only, both in and out. The combination of this with the fact that the Access Control Plan does nothing to reduce traffic volume on Grand Avenue, will (as correctly stated in the ad) encourage customers to start looking for other places to shop, eat or do business.
“One of the most important things to understand about the Access Control Plan is that it is a 20-year planning document.” If you knew that your left leg might be cut off, would it make you feel any more comfortable to be told that it might not be done until sometime in the next 20 years?
Finally, we are told that the Access Control Plan “will keep downtown businesses robust and our residential neighborhoods safe and pedestrian friendly.” I seriously question the validity of either of these claims for the reasons stated above.
I wonder, have any of you who have read the March 8 full-page ad promoting the Access Control Plan been struck, as I was, that the ad reads more like a CDOT propaganda piece than something which supposedly originated in the city’s engineering department? CDOT’s purpose is to move its traffic through Glenwood Springs as expeditiously as possible, with little regard for the impact that will have on Glenwood Springs.
We, the citizens, especially those owning businesses and buildings on Grand Avenue and those owning and/or living in homes along Grand Avenue and the paralleling streets, need to make city council aware of our concerns by e-mailing council members and speaking up at council meetings: at 6 p.m. today, and 7 p.m. on April 11, when council will vote on the plan. And don’t miss the town hall meeting at the community center at 6 p.m. on Tuesday, April 2. It will be devoted exclusively to transportation issues.
“As I See It” appears on the first and third Thursdays of the month. Hal Sundin lives in Glenwood Springs and is a retired environmental and structural engineer. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Glenwood Springs Police Chief Joseph Deras lamented his department’s inability to maintain a constant presence downtown during a virtual public forum Monday night.