GAPP plan now cast in concrete |

GAPP plan now cast in concrete

It’s official. The Grand Avenue Paving Project is a go, starting Sept. 7.

And the project will be all concrete, from the bottom of the Grand Avenue Bridge to as far up Grand Avenue as $4.2 million will go.

Colorado Department of Transportation officials dropped their promised public input process and told the Glenwood Springs City Council last week that the decision was made.

The agency deserves a slap for making a decision a year ago, as Region 3 director Ed Fink told City Council, and then allowing confusion to swirl with changing construction dates and a debate over concrete vs. asphalt.

Unlike CDOT’s failed attempt to rebuild and widen the Grand Avenue Bridge, which was knocked down by city leaders, the agency is making a more forceful play with its plan to repave Grand Avenue with concrete. It will apparently not take “no” for an answer.

Fink did offer a decent compromise in stalling the start of construction until after Labor Day, and condensing the job so it will be done before Memorial Day weekend 2005.

Now it’s time for the protests to end, and for city officials, Grand Avenue merchants and CDOT to figure out how our community can live through seven months of construction. Sept. 7 is only six months away.

Here are some suggestions:

– Identify alternate routes for traffic, and clearly mark them so even first-time visitors can follow the detour.

– Post obvious signs directing Grand Avenue shoppers to nearby parking lots, and keep sidewalks passable for pedestrians.

– Make the Ride Glenwood bus service free for the duration of the project, and give buses a head start advantage at traffic lights so they can run on time.

– Establish a park and ride facility on the north side of the river for downvalley commuters who want to catch a bus, ride a bike or walk to Grand Avenue.

– Find a fair way to give Grand Avenue merchants a break or subsidy to offset at least a portion of the business they will likely lose.

This is a start, and there’s not a day to lose in exploring these options.

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