Letter: Turn your backs to Grand Avenue
I have lived in Glenwood Springs nearly 20 years, five of those in the downtown core. I moved here in 1995, taking a job as the Garfield County land use planner. While I no longer do that job, I have been an active and passive participant in land use planning projects locally and regionally.
The first thing they teach you in “planning school” is to put all ideas and options on the table for consideration. Then whittle those ideas down, for whatever reason — too wacky, too costly, not politically expedient, etc. — and what is left is the solution.
Unfortunately folks, what is left for Grand Avenue is the new bridge, likely constructed as planned. I agree it is a monstrosity and not really suitable to its location, but it is the only economically feasible option remaining. We do not have the money, nor the right of way, to tunnel through Lookout Mountain, or move the highway to a cut and cover tunnel on the old railroad right-of-way, or go over Cottonwood Pass, or through South Canyon (all of these, at some point, options that were considered in the planning process).
What property owners, business owners and citizens should really be considering, and spending your time on, is turning your backs to Grand Avenue. The community and the Downtown Development Authority have done an excellent job with the improvements along Seventh Street, as well as other downtown beautification projects.
Furthering these projects should be turning the downtown alleys, especially those parallel to Grand Avenue, into the face of the stores and restaurants and businesses of Glenwood Springs. Let the traffic whizz by on the highway corridor, but beautify the alleys and make them the walking, shopping and recreational environments that Grand Avenue will never be.
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