Letter: Another vision for downtown traffic
Eric McCafferty, it would be wonderful to turn our backs and focus on cleaning up the alleys, give them purpose other than a place to park dumpsters, but this isn’t feasible. Most shops along Grand would take expensive remodeling to accommodate back-door commerce. Plus, what do we do with all those dumpsters necessary for businesses to thrive?
There is yet no money for this much concrete, but if we really want to turn Grand into a pedestrian mecca, the best solution is simply keeping the new bridge elevated until it meets the hill at just before 10th street, giving that initial left turn direct access to the new parking garage. This eliminates cross-traffic congestion on Eighth and Ninth streets so the planned realignment of Midland and Eighth disperses traffic evenly across those streets currently half-heartedly designed to be secondary arterials (Colorado and Copper and Blake) to be used for access rather than bypassing Grand Avenue congestion.
Best of all, this will make the whole of the Grand Avenue core a covered pedestrian space. A roofed park that is large enough to handle all kinds of events such as concerts, car shows, farmers markets, brewfests, art festivals, and whatever wonders the business community can dream up. Eighth and Ninth cross-traffic becomes minimal, with nobody turning onto Grand.
If we are imaginative enough to embrace this idea there is no need to leave the bridge looking like a bridge – or the Aspen Art Museum for that matter — because facades can be designed to integrate into surrounding architecture. Covering the structure with brickwork mimicking blocks of various smaller buildings, fitting within the scale of the town, can make such a huge structure congruent to small town values and 21st century economics.
Eric, what it is time to turn our backs on is this idea a bypass and access cannot be one and the same. The one option left off the table.
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