Grand Avenue is our problem, not just state’s problem |

Grand Avenue is our problem, not just state’s problem

I was surprised and very pleased to learn in the Dec. 3 Post Independent of Councilman Larry Beckwith’s proposal to the Glenwood Springs City Council to begin to accumulate substantial seed money towards the relocation of Colorado Highway 82 from Grand Avenue.

Mr. Beckwith has served on city transportation committees in the past and has expressed concern for our future if the problem of massive traffic on our main street is not solved.

On Dec. 6, 1973, exactly 30 years ago, City Council adopted the following:

“It is the intention of the city to designate Midland Avenue as an arterial street pursuant to Chapter 120, Section 13, Paragraph 25, CRS 1963, for the purposes of providing an identifiable corridor or route designation for the investigation and study of a possible by-pass for state Highway 82.”

Why did council exhibit this foresight so many years ago? They knew the increasing build-up of Grand Avenue traffic would eventually destroy the viability of our downtown and community. They knew that even if they immediately finalized a plan for the relocation, it could take 20 or more years to complete.

Thirty years ago I did float a trial balloon to business owners to support the idea of the city’s monetary contribution towards a relocation. Their answer: “Absolutely not! It’s not our problem, it’s the state’s problem.”

The reaction then was nearly word for word the same reaction received in the fall of 1998 when it was proposed that a contribution in the range of $1 million should be made towards a solution. This time it was council members as well as the print media that objected to a $1 million contribution.

These are quotes from four years ago:

1. Council member: “Glenwood Springs shouldn’t take the burden on itself to upgrade a state highway.”

2. Council member: “The bypass should be paid for by the state.”

3. Council member: “The state should be paying the vast majority.”

4. Council member: “A bypass will take years to address and should not require significant city financial contributions.”

5. The press: “It is more of a state than a city problem.”

The position expressed in those previous quotes of four years ago is essentially, “It’s not our problem, it’s the state’s problem.”

That attitude has been prevalent for the past 30 years and it’s time that attitude changes. Now is the time for Glenwood Springs to become a partner with the Colorado Department of Transportation, because traffic is a problem to both.

Today, council is moving forward. The pace is slow but encouraging. We have purchased potential rights of way. Communities from Parachute to Glenwood are prioritizing their common needs.

The city, in an Oct. 9, 2003, letter commenting on RFTA’s Corridor Investment Study, made an excellent point that any transit solution to the Roaring Fork Valley will be flawed unless congestion on Grand Avenue is relieved. It is not only a matter of traffic movement, it is a matter of the quality of life, health, and safety for the residents of Glenwood Springs.

Our dilemma affects far more than businesses on Grand Avenue. It affects the citizens of all communities from Aspen to Parachute. All must travel through our town to go to and from work, business or play. It affects families from children to the elderly who must every day cross this highway. Never forget, Grand Avenue is not a street or an avenue, it is a major highway!

I ask council to begin to formulate a plan to substantially fund the draft environmental impact statement for relocation of Colorado Highway 82.

” Floyd Diemoz of Glenwood Springs is a building contractor, and served on the citizen’s advisory committee for the construction of Interstate 70 through Glenwood Canyon.

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