Wing street closure might not fly without voter approval
GLENWOOD SPRINGS – Downtown Development Authority director John Simmons said voter approval could be needed before city officials can close off the Grand Avenue wing street. The wing street angles off northbound Grand Avenue just before the Grand Avenue Bridge, giving motorists access to 7th Street and parking under the bridge.Also, results from a recent city survey on closing the wing street show the majority of business and property owners favor closure, but it’s a fairly slim majority. The potential for a public vote comes as part of the state’s Public Mall Act of 1970.According to the statute, if there is objection from a majority of those who own property directly adjacent to an area proposed to be closed off for a mall – which in this case includes property owners along the wing street from Summit Canyon Mountaineering to the Riviera Supper Club – then a vote of all city residents would be required. However, if the majority of adjacent property owners support the closure, and CDOT – which owns the right of way – consents, City Council could simply approve closure of the street. Simmons said it’s not yet clear from the city survey if the majority of property owners in the 700 block on the west side of Grand Avenue support or oppose the street closure. The idea of closing the street to vehicles became timely when the Colorado Department of Transportation announced it would repave Grand Avenue in the summer of 2004. City officials figured if the street already would already be torn up, they could save time and money by turning the wing street into a pedestrian area at the same time.Since then, however, CDOT Region 3 director Owen Leonard told city officials he would only support funding such a project if the city agrees to pay for half. Instead of deciding the issue by themselves, City Council conducted a formal survey. Results from the survey – which consisted of 179 responses from 258 registered letters sent to area businesses and property owners – found that 57 percent favor the idea and 43 percent oppose it. The actual survey result was 94 in favor, 70 opposed, one undecided, and three with comments but no answers, “The majority are in favor,” Glenwood Springs Simmons said. But Simmons insists that, at least at this point, council is only gauging support for the wing street closure so it can determine whether to spend more money on designing the pedestrian area “so everyone can see a finished design and make their decisions based on that.”The letters were sent out to business and property owners within the 700 through 900 blocks of Cooper, Grand and Colorado avenues. A simple yes or no answer on whether to close the wing street was requested.Those who support the project point to pedestrian and bicyclist safety, cleanliness and downtown vibrancy resulting from the closure.Those against closing the street say it will take away much-needed parking spaces, foul up long-standing traffic patterns and hurt business in the area. When Simmons originally polled business and property owners in the area, the outcome was around 80 percent for, 20 percent against, he said. But the results of the more recent survey tell a different story. “The change in numbers is due to a larger area being polled,” Simmons said. “I feel we have good support to continue designing the project.”The Glenwood Springs City Council will discuss the wing street at its meeting, set for 6:30 p.m. tonight at City Hall.Also on the agenda, City Council will:-Discuss the confluence area, a land swap with the Roaring Fork Transportation Authority, the Cardnell right of way, the Community Broadband Network and the sewer plant study. -Award bids for restoration of hydroelectric plant windows and doors and demolition of the old City Hall on Cooper Avenue. -Give a conceptual review of a major commercial development application for Glenwood Meadows. -Consider a long-range transportation plan and prioritization of the state plan. -Discuss parking at Traver Trail and Highway 6&24. -Consider a Cardiff housing proposal. -Consider authorizing a sole source procurement of a 2002 John Deere 6405 tractor. -Consider a resolution authorizing the sale of the old Glenwood Springs police station at 823 Blake Ave. -Consider a resolution authorizing the purchase of the old county shops at 1015 School St.-Receive the first quarter 2003 financial report. Contact Greg Mass: 945-8515, ext. email@example.com
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