Watch out for back-to-school traffic |

Watch out for back-to-school traffic

Pete FowlerGlenwood Springs, CO Colorado
Post Independent/Kelley Cox

GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colo. Public schools in Glenwood Springs, Carbondale and Basalt open for the first day of class Tuesday, Sept. 4. The only exception is the new Roaring Fork High School in Carbondale, which starts Thursday, Sept. 6. Classes for schools in the western part of Garfield County started Aug. 20.Going back to school means an increase in traffic as students travel to and from school. Glenwood Springs Police Chief Terry Wilson is asking the community to be careful of the extra vehicle and foot traffic.”Be cautious,” he said. “Leave early. Realize that there’s likely to be more delays.”He said there’s a huge increase in traffic around the schools themselves, but other key areas are also impacted. The turnoff from Highway 6 toward Glenwood Springs Middle School can back up and cause problems. The 27th Street and Midland Avenue intersection also gets crowded with people taking kids to Sopris Elementary School, he added.

“Eighth and Colorado gets to be an absolute mayhem with parents taking their kids to school at Glenwood Elementary,” he said.A new variable this year will be traffic patterns around Glenwood Springs High School.”We’re going to be very concerned about what the traffic patterns will be around the high school with the changes there that are still in process,” Wilson said. “It’s a little bit of an experiment in progress right now.”As a temporary measure until a new parking lot is complete, students will be issued permits to park in one of three places: the lot at the northwest corner of campus at the intersection of Coach Miller Drive and 14th Street, the lot west of the district office off 14th Street, and the new lot south of the school adjacent to the Van Rand center, which must be entered from Polo Drive.Students may only be dropped off via a one-way drop off lane on the north side of the school from Coach Miller Drive, said GSHS Principal Paul Freeman.

A new parking lot was added to the south end of the school. That lot is ultimately planned for visitor and staff parking, while the main access to the school will still be from the north side off 14th Street. Buses will drop off students on the west side of the school in a new bus loop.Another new parking lot is slated for completion toward the end of October on the north side of the school between the school and 14th street, according to a landscape plan.A new turn lane was scheduled to be constructed off Grand Avenue by the start of school, but that’s no longer the case. Superintendent Judy Haptonstall said that the Colorado Department of Transportation asked that construction be delayed until after the holiday weekend to avoid conflicts with holiday traffic on Highway 82. Turn lane construction will begin Sept. 10 and will go through mid-October, Freeman said.”Hopefully it’ll be a good design, but I think it’s a little ways from the point where we’ll be able to say what the impacts are going to be,” Wilson said.The GSPD plans to staff as many extra officers as it can while people adjust to the back-to-school traffic. Wilson plans to establish a higher visibility police presence and monitor the school zones and other impacted areas.

The no-parking zone in front of Sopris Elementary will also be enforced. Wilson said he doesn’t want to give out tickets, but that officers will give out the “reminders” if they need to.Contact Pete Fouler: 945-8515, ext. 16611pfowler@postindependent.comPost Independent, Glenwood Springs Colorado CO

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