Letter: Keep the gate closed
The Post Independent’s poll last week about the Blake gate almost begged a yes answer in an extremely simplistic query about a complicated question.
A petition was presented to council with dozens of signatures against opening the gate permanently with through traffic to 23rd. A very significant percentage of residents in the potentially affected area did not want the gate open. Council had agreed to take that issue off the table “for now.”
The question oversimplifies many factors:
1. Safety: The 26th to 23rd stretch of road is almost all residential. The road width is substandard, the road condition is terrible, there are no curbs, shoulders or walkways for most of the way.
2. Property value and neighborhood impact. This is a relatively quiet residential neighborhood and additional traffic will have a negative impact on values, safety and livability.
3. Cost. To upgrade the road to city standards would cost hundreds of thousands of dollars. Who should pay for this?
4. RFTA. Much of the vehicular demand in this area is due to the RFTA 27th street station and parking. The planning and area has proven inadequate for the demand. It might make sense to allow some flow of traffic between 26th or 27th to the gate. However, perhaps we should be asking RFTA to bear the cost.
5. Other neighborhoods. Concern has been expressed by nearby neighborhoods such as Palmer Avenue that opening the gate would also subject their residential neighborhoods to detrimental cut-through traffic.
6. A great emphasis of the bridge detour plan was supposedly to protect downtown neighborhoods (and Midland) from heavy cut-through traffic. The plan includes controls to keep Grand/82 moving and to make it more difficult to access Grand from the side streets.
7. Blake from Seventh to 23rd is one of the only designated bike routes in town that shares the road with cars. Twenty-third to the gate is a natural extension of this route and would become extremely dangerous with additional traffic and no significant improvements to the road.
8. If Glenwood is to preserve and protect its neighborhoods and small-town character and livability, it should be considering less accommodation to vehicular traffic.
Imagine Glenwood has been opposed to opening the gate from Wal-Mart to 23rd. There may be other options for an opening a commercial route/loop between 26th and the gate. However, this is a complicated situation with many variables. A simple, “should the gate be opened” begs a simple answer to a difficult situation.
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