CDOT deprives Glenwood residents of enjoyment
Imagine downtown Glenwood Springs with a three-lane street, parking on both sides and sidewalks extending another five feet, and traffic lights that give pedestrians permission to cross without competing with cars and trucks turning right in between walkers.
With increased walkability, the old business core would again flourish as retail, restaurants and service providers fill the spaces left vacant today. All that is needed is for CDOT to relocate highway 82.
The proposed bridge and the use of our town’s Grand Avenue as the sole practical access to the upper Roaring Fork Valley is a disservice by the state of Colorado to the residents and visitors of Glenwood Springs. Twenty-seven thousand cars and trucks per day, through 20 blocks of our city’s central street has an immense impact.
The schools, post office, county courthouse with its many administrative offices and half our retail and service offices are on one side of Highway 82/Grand Avenue, while the other side has a similar distribution of public and private offices, plus the densest population of residents. This old central area of Glenwood springs is the most diverse and affordable place for people to live.
The present volume of traffic through our central avenue has a very negative effect on people’s ability to walk and drive around town. Projections of future traffic loads are as high as double today’s volume. The state’s access-control plan is draconian in its effect on small town and resort life.
Our hometown is being defined and designed not by our wishes, or market forces, but by the Colorado Department of Transportation and the assorted regional governments including our own city government, which acquiesces to CDOT’s demand.
CDOT and the assorted regional and our own city government have embezzled from the residents and visitors, over time, the right of peaceful enjoyment of our property — including common property such as streets, sidewalks, parks and pedestrian walkways and bike paths. This degradation of our right to peaceful enjoyment of our property includes less than reasonable accessibility to both sides of Grand Avenue and all city crossings, the noise of traffic, pollution and the hazards of transporting vast quantities of explosive fuels through residential and commercial areas. It includes the loss of a functioning city center and the decline of retail in the downtown. All the above account to a loss of enjoyment of our lives and the financial loss in the value of our homes and businesses.
Since the present bridge was built 60 years ago, which was two lanes with the ability to expand to four lanes, CDOT had notice of the traffic growth on Highway 82. CDOT’s solution was to nibble away at the fronts of homes and businesses that line Grand. CDOT has spent somewhere between half a billion and a billion dollars in building a four-lane highway to Aspen, a dead end. All this effort without doing anything about the constriction of traffic passing through 20 blocks of the historic town site of Glenwood Springs. With the proposed bridge, the 20-block route will not change much, so today’s congestion will be there to greet the new bridge, except that traffic will have increased in volume.
Today there is no plan for a bypass. CDOT has had 60 years of notice. In the past our city government has funded studies, and bought right of way, but CDOT has not moved to plan anything.
The new bridge and its hardships on citizens and visitors cannot solve the traffic problem through our central core. But it will foster the illusion that CDOT is working on a solution. It will balance its books with the residents and visitors of Glenwood Springs enduring both the construction phase and reality of CDOT’s non-solution solution.
Our only defense to our civil right to peaceful enjoyment of our property is not to accept this attempt to mask 60 years of planning errors and budget errors with a non-solution solution. So stand in the way of the new bridge until something concrete has been done to build a bypass.
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