Ave. can be a grand pain
Some area motorists probably were scratching their heads over a recent study that found Grand Avenue in Glenwood Springs is operating at an acceptable level of service.People who have crawled along on Grand at evening rush hour may have another description of the situation, and not necessarily a printable one.So might residents of places such as Blake Avenue, who have endured living on side streets that have turned into relief valves when Grand becomes overloaded.When it’s not rush hour, though, Grand isn’t the worst of drives. The study found that travel time through town on Grand averages six minutes during a.m. hours and eight minutes in p.m. hours.People who spend much time driving in Denver also will say that it’s all relative, and we don’t realize how good we’ve got it here.But all of that is of little consolation to people who moved to the mountains partly to get away from traffic jams. To hear the study authors tell it, Grand will be a problem in a decade or two. But Grand already averages a total of about 27,000 vehicles a day – just 2,000 shy of the number passing through Eisenhower Tunnel on Interstate 70 over 24 hours. There’s no time to waste in exploring long-term approaches to easing congestion on Grand. Moving to the top of the state’s highway funding priority list can take years, even decades. Before that, the city has to reach some consensus of its own on what it thinks the state should do with Highway 82, which is currently on Grand.A third of Grand’s traffic is in fact only passing through, while clogging up Glenwood’s main drag in the process. Some want to see 82 relocated onto the former rail corridor along the Roaring Fork River, but it may prove difficult to convince a majority of residents to give up yet more of the city’s real estate, and a scenic riverway to boot, to ease traffic woes.It’s tempting to say that Glenwood Springs is bearing the brunt of a regional problem when it comes to Grand Avenue congestion. But, in fact, two-thirds of the traffic is local, so the city shares the responsibility, fiscal and otherwise, for addressing the problem.One place it already is doing so is through an aggressive program aimed at reducing traffic, on Grand and throughout town, through means such as subsidizing in-town and regional bus service, encouraging commuting, and promoting walking and cycling.It’s not the total answer, but it’s a start. Given the increasing congestion we can expect on Grand in years to come, these transportation methods will gain increasing appeal as alternatives to doing the Grand Avenue crawl.It’s not the total answer, but it’s a start. Given the increasing congestion we can expect on Grand in years to come, these transportation methods will gain increasing appeal as alternatives to doing the Grand Avenue crawl.
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