View from The Underground: Close wing street
From the Columbus Saloon, the Odean Lunch Room, the Riverfront Pub, Bud’s Liquors, all on 7th Street, and the Hotel Glenwood and The Italian Underground restaurant on Grand Avenue, four generations of our family have been in business and service to this community.
This, by no means, gives me or my family any more credibility to speak on issues which involve downtown Glenwood. But having lived and worked in the area most of my life has helped me to make the following observation.
I welcome and endorse the closure of the east wing street on Grand Avenue.
By way of example, the removal of the west wing street in front of our established business, The Italian Underground Restaurant, has been a positive experience.
The area, in its passive nature, is cleaner without the pressure of vehicles. The surface storm runoff is largely eliminated with the absence of curbing and the inclusion of underground drainage. The greenery – trees and shrubbery – provides an alternative buffer to the bridge and traffic. The area is quieter and truly pedestrian-friendly.
With an exclusive pedestrian mall on both sides of the bridge, people will actually have an area where they can move freely from one side of Grand Avenue to the other without having to ford the river of traffic that divides this business district.
Once we start thinking in terms of pedestrians rather than traffic, the downtown area will actually have the opportunity to flourish. In the larger mix, an exclusive pedestrian mall will be an essential addition to the 7th Street Esplanade and sidewalk system which link our neighborhoods to all parts of the community.
Traffic flows on Grand Avenue will continue to grow.
A bypass is years, perhaps decades, away from becoming a reality.
So the task at hand is to create a better environment for ourselves, our neighbors, and guests to this community. This can happen with the closure of the east wing street.
Ashton Durrett is a lifelong resident of Glenwood Springs, and a former mayor and member of City Council.
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