Guest opinion: Keep all our neighborhoods desirable and safe
Can you imagine: Increased car and pick up and commuter traffic in your neighborhood? Increased noise? Difficulty crossing your street? Less safe neighborhood streets to bike and walk and talk?
Can you imagine: Slower and quieter and decreased traffic in your neighborhood? Safer street crossings? Streets conducive to biking and walking and talking? Safer streets for children and pets?
We prefer to imagine the latter, and we would like to offer some comments regarding transportation projects and planning and Glenwood’s transportation plan. We are residents of one of Glenwood’s busiest streets and have a personal interest and bias in addition to our overall concern for the well-being of our town.
First, we understand that the opening of the south Blake Avenue gate adjacent to Wal-Mart is being considered or may be slated for action soon. We would like to express our opposition to opening this gate.
We would like to see stronger action to keep all our neighborhoods desirable and safe places to live, visit, play, walk and bike. We believe this is consistent with Glenwood’s Comprehensive Plan and our town’s best interests.
Opening up Blake is counterproductive in our opinion. Encouraging additional motor traffic through residential areas is likely to degrade the quality of life there, lower property values, decrease safety, radiate to other adjacent streets and neighbors, sacrifice quality in Glenwood to serve upvalley needs. We believe that “Blake gate” funds would be better spent on projects that are more likely to enhance property values and neighborhoods.
We are facing a significant traffic event with the new Highway 82 Bridge construction and closure. The FHWA document states it has “no significant impact.” That is a technical conclusion, and the impacts during closure are likely to be very significant to many businesses and visitors and residents (as stated in the CDOT Environmental Assessment/FHWA document).
While there is an “official” detour route that is intended to encourage traffic to re-enter Highway 82 at Eighth or Ninth streets, drivers will seek any and all outlets to find ways north and south during the closure and delays. The recently approved plan provides some protection and closures to neighborhoods west of Highway 82/Grand. We believe similar protection and limiting “cut-through” access should be extended east of Grand Avenue also. Protect our neighborhoods.
Action items and considerations:
1. Do not open the Blake gate. Consider consequences and impact on property and neighborhood.
a. Do not open the gate. Divert the spending to projects with more positive impacts such as “green bike lanes,” more raised pedestrian crossings and/or crossing signage, more stop signs and traffic calming.
b. Perhaps relocate the gate instead — north to 26th street. That continues to discourage and limit through traffic and creates a retail/commercial access loop from 27th to Roaring Fork Marketplace and back to Highway 82.
2. Consider and encourage other access loops to and from Highway 82. South Hyland Park Drive to 20th would help to route access and traffic to Valley View Hospital, St. Stephens, county annex and medical offices. Consider petitioning CDOT to place a traffic light and turn signal at South Hyland Park to facilitate the loop. In return, eliminate the ped-activated crossing between the Hyland parks.
3. 14th Street. Redevelopment here will be very important to access City Market and other businesses, the high school and CMC. There already exists a controlled loop at that location. It should be emphasized and marked more clearly to discourage traffic through residential areas and encourage on and off Highway 82 between 14th and 15th.
4. Encourage the same type of loop in the downtown core. Seventh to 10th and Cooper to Colorado for downtown circulation and access and discouraging through traffic through the residential neighborhoods — Colorado, Pitkin, Cooper, Blake, Bennett, Palmer, etc.
5. Add stronger pedestrian markings and/or rapid flashing beacons at all cross walks on Blake beginning with 12th Street/ditch.
6. Refresh bike lane markings — add green lane if possible. Add routes.
7. Moveable or permanent “local traffic-only” signs and other calming measures in residential neighborhoods.
8. Consider pros and cons of increased speed limits, e.g. 35 mph, south of 13th to 23rd on Highway 82.
9. Continue to work with and pressure other entities — CDOT, RFTA and Union Pacific— to contribute to the well-being of Glenwood and to contribute to our traffic issues and projects as they benefit as well and as much as we do.
10. Protect neighborhoods both east and west of Grand/Highway 82 from “cut-through” traffic.
We are seeking input and neighborhood participation to help communicate shared needs and solutions to the city. Let’s be aware and be heard before decisions are made.
You can help us by joining us at 5:30 p.m. June 10 — Wednesday — at the Glenwood library.
This was submitted by Sumner Schachter, Michele Diamond, and Murray and Diane Reynolds, all Blake Avenue residents.
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