Access Control Plan Response to Chris McGovern

This, as promised, is in response to a comment from Chris McGovern to my blog “Hot Under the Collar” posted February 20th : https://ourtownglenwoodsprings.wordpress.com/2013/02/20/hot-under-the-collar/

First of all, Chris, thank you for your many years of service on City Council and the Transportation Commission. I realize that I have very big shoes to fill on the Transportation Commission. I appreciate your taking the time to comment on my blog and I hope you will continue to read and contribute.

The Planning Commission workshop last Tuesday was devoted to the Access Control Plan. By the way – these work sessions are open to the public and are publicly noticed. I am a firm believer that land use and transportation go hand in hand – and so the Planning Commission has requested another opportunity to review and make formal comment to City Council before a decision is made. City Council will be taking public comment at their meetings on March 7th and March 21st with a decision potentially coming April 4th. I also understand from talking with City Engineer Terri Partch that prior to the March meetings, story poles will be erected by CDOT along Grand Avenue to demonstrate the potential bridge widths associated with various traffic movement at 8th and Grand. I hope everyone will take the time to review this information.

Before I go much further, I need to say a couple of things:

• I am not a 100% advocate of the Access Control Plan as proposed. I see some positives and some negatives “as proposed”.
• I am still learning, still investigating and still asking lots of questions.
• I do like to play “Devil’s Advocate” – so bear with me . . .
• The Access Control Plan is just that . . . a “plan” – the implementation of which can be dependent on a number of factors.

Following is my response to Chris (Chris’ comments are in bold italics):
The ACCESS CONTROL PLAN is being proposed to move traffic along #82 at the expense of the Glenwood Springs community and at the expense of circulation patterns within Glenwood.

This is an opinion and as such is valid as such – an opinion. The circulation pattern, if all the ACP were adopted and implemented as proposed, most certainly would change. Whether it would be to the “detriment” of the current circulation pattern is pure conjecture.

The town would be bisected by an ACCESS CONTROL PLAN that is designed to mitigate traffic congestion on Grand Ave.

The town currently is, to some degree, bisected by having SH 82 running through the center of the community. But it is also bisected by two rivers, the Roaring Fork and the Colorado. While not man-made, the community has had to make some necessary accommodations for those rivers in building community. The question is will it be MORE bisected by the ACP? The answer depends partly on what is adopted by the City and approved by CDOT. If intersections are limited to right-in, right-out, it could indeed make getting from the east side to the west of Grand Avenue a longer, more convoluted process. Will it prevent it? Absolutely not.

• Glenwood citizens & visitors will be PROHIBITED from making left hand turns off Grand or onto Grand (that are currently allowed) at 56 locations between 8th and 30th.

I didn’t count but I trust that your numbers are accurate including intersections and “driveways” between 8th and Blake (30th) as the current ACP is proposed. If I counted correctly, there are 16 proposed closures between 23rd Street and 27th Street. In most of these cases, that may be an understatement as many of the businesses along this stretch have no clear entrances or exits. The same is true with the 6 or 7 “closures” from 27th to Blake (by McDonald’s) . Two things to keep in mind if I understand correctly (& I will verify and correct if this is not accurate):
The ACP will only be triggered by
*redevelopment of the property
*A traffic increase of 20% to the business
*Event of a serious accident

• As the study is proposed now- a car would not be allowed to travel ACROSS Grand Avenue at 8th Street or at 10th Street…. which truly cuts off one side of town from the other. All of the existing cross traffic east to west and west to east that currently travels on 8th, 9th and 10th is proposed to be handled by 9th Street. Very little of the cross traffic would move farther to the south- unless 9th Street stopped working/which of course COULD happen. (8th St. is already “past capacity”.)

My current preference, based on the information that I have, is that 8th and 9th Streets remain fully functional, signalized intersections. I really would like to like the right-in, right-out with a “pork chop” pedestrian refuge however my concern is access to the governmental and business entities as well as a potential connection to the 7th/8th Street bridge to Midland. I also think that if pedestrians are not given the option to cross somewhere between the middle of the 700 block (the under bridge crossing) and the 9th Street, I think that they may try to make a run for it.

If the decision is to go with right-in, right-out at 8th Street, then I would suggest that the city and CDOT consider a mid-block crossing in the 800 block with a pedestrian refuge in the middle of the street as well as some kind of flashing warning signal to motorists that pedestrians are present. This would mean the elimination of two parking spaces on either side of the street to create a bulb-out, but that in itself would, theoretically have a slowing, calming effect on traffic.

• There will be no turns from Grand Ave onto 7th… no access from Grand at that point, as the wing street will be closed.

This is true, but is more a function of the bridge replacement than of the ACP.

• 5 Parking spaces will be lost from the current parking area under the bridge.

True, but again a function of the bridge replacement more than ACP.

• If a vehicle was parked at the new library on 8th Street: the only “move” allowed at 8th & Grand would be to take a right hand turn & go over the bridge; there is no way to stay in downtown (The wing street is also proposed to be removed)

The parking under the library is currently earmarked as employee parking for Colorado Mountain College. Although I had to recuse myself from this decision when it appeared before the Planning Commission, I recall that one of the conditions included that cars exiting the garage would be limited to a right-hand turn. This would mean that employees would not be using the 8th Street intersection anyway. Patrons of the library will have various parking options, but most abundant parking will be located on Cooper. Chris is correct that if they use 8th & Grand (if limited to right-turn only), they will find themselves over the bridge. However at 8th and Cooper they will have several options including a right turn to go to Blake, or going one more block to 7th.

• Jimmy’s 66 at 13th is supposed to share a driveway onto Grand with the neighbor to the south. Has no-one ever walked those parcels to note the huge grade difference between the 2 properties?

This is a misconception. If Jimmy’s 66 and the businesses next door remain as they are, then nothing will change. If there is a redevelopment, then the access will be reviewed. The grade of the parcel next door appears to slope from east to west with the lowest nearest Grand. It appears that there is approximately a two-foot variance between the front of both parcels. I don’t think this would be a deal breaker for a shared entrance, but the grade would certainly be a consideration.

• Around 23rd….if a vehicle-customer coming from south Hwy #82 wanted to make a purchase from Arby’s…. the customer would need to go PAST Arby’s, take a left into Safeway, go south through the Safeway parking lot, continue going through Wendy’s parking lot, and finally arrive in Arby’s. What do you suppose that the impact will be on Arby’s business?

Again, keep in mind that this change would only be implemented if the businesses, Wendy’s or Arby’s redeveloped or if the City were to decide to add medians to Grand Avenue in this location. I don’t see that this will be an issue in the immediate future. There are in fact times when I have visited one or the other of these businesses, I will go back through the Safeway parking lot to make a left-hand turn onto Grand rather than take my chances in the “suicide lane” on Grand Ave.

• The gas station is even beyond Arby’s. Do planners really think that a consumer would take a left into Safeway, go through Wendy’s, go through Arbys in order to get to the gas station?

See above comment although Chris raises a good point for this gas station. Perhaps since 22nd Street across the street is planned to be a ¾ movement intersection (Left-in ok), this site could also be considered for the same.

• A customer would not be able to take a left into the US Bank in the 1900 block of Grand. When approaching from the south, the only access would be through Safeway.

Again – this would only take place upon redevelopment of the US Bank property. I have seen the proposed route – through Safeway parking – used by quite a few people.

• How does Safeway feel about being the “access” for a bank, for 2 restaurants and for a gas station? How much of the Safeway driveways are given up to traffic that is not Safeway’s customers? What kind of insurance liabilities must be absorbed by Safeway with this configuration?

While I cannot speak for Safeway, I would imagine they would be happy with anything that would bring potential customers to their door. Liability issues, I think, would be addressed with a reciprocal easement or access agreement that would stipulate any insurance requirement and indemnification.

• The Access Control Plan originally called for the Lutheran Church to be removed so that North Hyland drive can be straightened out to “meet” the corner of Park across the street. The plan has been changed to indicate the need to straighten out that intersection- but it could be done by taking 2 residential homes OR the Church.

It would only be done by “taking” IF there was a serious accident, probably a fatality. I am absolutely not an advocate of using eminent domain and would hope that the City could enter into an agreement with the appropriate land owners if and when the need or time arose. The recommendation from the City Engineer was that the City begin a fund to purchase these properties should they become available. Should CDOT feel that safety was critical, it might in fact not be the city who would exercise eminent domain.

• All of the property owners on the west side of Grand Ave between North Park Drive & South Park Dr. will be forced to “share” driveways” between neighbors with the “sale and/or redevelopment of property that brings a 20% increase of traffic”. (like a daycare home!) They will only be able to take a right hand turn out of their driveways. What do you suppose this does to THEIR property values?

In clarification of this with Terri Partch, City Engineer, she stressed that this area is currently zoned R1/6, which is single family residential. A rezoning of this area would be required to create the required 20% increase in traffic. Nothing will change if these homes remain residential. If the area were to be rezoned and uses began to be changed, then access in this area would also change.

• If you are in a vehicle on the east side of Grand between 14th and 20th—- you cannot take a left to get onto Grand Ave. according to the proposed plan (unless a “solution can be found for North Hyland Park Drive).. How much additional traffic does this force onto Blake Avenue ? What will the “wait” will be at he stop lights on 14th and 20th? How long do folks wait now to get across?

I understand, and will clarify with the City Engineer that the intersections and Park Drive and Hyland Park Drive (north) will remain full-movement intersections. Once again, nothing changes at the present time see above.

• When asked about pedestrian movements across Grand Ave , the planners kind of “shrugged” and stated that pedestrians would “still” be able to get across Grand at 8th (even though there’d be no signal/light…. but “perhaps” a safety median could be put there.) The PLAN calls for pedestrians to be “pushed” down to crossing under the bridge-closer to 7th…. instead of crossing at 8th (which is the heaviest used crossing in town).

See my response to an earlier point.

• Traveling south on Hwy #82 between 23rd and 27th—- there will be NO left hand turns allowed. You won’t be able to turn left into Domino’s, Defiance Thrift Store, etc. That means BLAKE between 23rd and 27th will have to service south bound-commercial traffic that is trying to get into all the businesses between 23rd & 27th. That stretch of Blake is not in any condition to carry that kind of traffic.

Again, nothing is slated to happen until/unless there is redevelopment and or a serious accident in this area. Also see an earlier response.

• The ACCESS CONTROL PLAN has Blake at 27th open through to Wal-Mart…. even though the Transportation Commission has been told by City Staff that was not being considered. Blake is not in any condition from 23rd to Wal-Mart to carry “through” traffic. Property owners along South Blake have not been noticed or consulted on this part of the proposal.

I have been in several meetings that opening of Blake through to WalMart was being kicked around. I have not heard that this option was off the table. I will check with City staff to get an opinion. I do think that in order for that to happen, Blake would need to be improved.

Everyone in Glenwood will be affected by an ACCESS CONTROL PLAN.
Many businesses in Downtown Glenwood will be adversely affected.
Businesses on Hwy #82 between 19th and 23rd would be severely impacted.
Citizens living on Blake, Cooper & Colorado will be negatively impacted.

There is truly no way to know to what extent businesses will be effected but the impact on our local business has always been one of my top concerns. I would direct you to a couple of reports prepared by various entities in other areas in response to very similar concerns. From reading these, it seems to be that the perceived negative effect to the business is greater than the actual negative effect.

ftp://ftp.mdt.mt.gov/research/LIBRARY/2009-12FINALREPORT.PDF

http://www.trpc.org/regionalplanning/landuse/Documents/Capitol%20Boulevard%20Planning%20Project/Economic_Impacts_of_Access_Mgmt.pdf

http://www.dot.state.oh.us/districts/D01/PlanningPrograms/trafficstudies/Documents/Economic-Impacts-of-Access-Management.pdf

I urge everyone to continue to read, listen, and do some investigation on your own. And of course – continue to read this blog and feel free to comment! If you simply wish to ask a question, I will try to see that it gets answered by someone who is qualified to answer!

6 comments on “Access Control Plan Response to Chris McGovern

  1. ktrauger says:

    I am hearing that it can be difficult to leave a comment, particularly of any length. I would be happy to post your comments as a “Guest Blog” if you will send me an email with your comments. Please contact me at ktrauger@rof.net to post a guest blog.

  2. Stephen Bershenyi says:

    My personal thanks to you. You are doing a great service to this community by your clear and studious presentation of the facts especially regarding The Access Control Plan.

    • ktrauger says:

      Thanks so much Stephen! I am really trying to make sure that the facts are getting out there. Obviously, there is much emotion involved as well, but we need to have as many facts as we can to make the best possible decisions.

  3. chris mcgovern says:

    The blog is awkward to use- so I am going to have this be the final “strand” of this conversation.

    Kathy: This, as promised, is in response to a comment from Chris McGovern to my blog “Hot Under the Collar” posted February 20th : https://ourtownglenwoodsprings.wordpress.com/2013/02/20/hot-under-the-collar/
    First of all, Chris, thank you for your many years of service on City Council and the Transportation Commission. I realize that I have very big shoes to fill on the Transportation Commission. I appreciate your taking the time to comment on my blog and I hope you will continue to read and contribute.
    The Planning Commission workshop last Tuesday was devoted to the Access Control Plan. By the way – these work sessions are open to the public and are publicly noticed. I am a firm believer that land use and transportation go hand in hand – and so the Planning Commission has requested another opportunity to review and make formal comment to City Council before a decision is made. City Council will be taking public comment at their meetings on March 7th and March 21st with a decision potentially coming April 4th. I also understand from talking with City Engineer Terri Partch that prior to the March meetings, story poles will be erected by CDOT along Grand Avenue to demonstrate the potential bridge widths

    Chris:…and heights? along the entire 700 block of Grand Ave?

    Kathy: associated with various traffic movement at 8th and Grand

    Chris: should not just be at 8th and Grand- should reflect the impact to the whole of the 700 block of Grand.

    Kathy: I hope everyone will take the time to review this information. Before I go much further, I need to say a couple of things:
    • I am not a 100% advocate of the Access Control Plan as proposed. I see some positives and some negatives “as proposed”.
    • I am still learning, still investigating and still asking lots of questions.
    • I do like to play “Devil’s Advocate” – so bear with me . . .
    • The Access Control Plan is just that . . . a “plan” – the implementation of which can be dependent on a number of factors.

    Chris: Not so…. it is very much more than a Plan… it is a legally binding agreement…please read the Steamboat Springs Access Control Plan, and review the very precise LEGAL language of that Contract.

    KATHY: Following is my response to Chris

    Chris: The ACCESS CONTROL PLAN is being proposed to move traffic along #82 at the expense of the Glenwood Springs community and at the expense of circulation patterns within Glenwood.

    Kathy: This is an opinion and as such is valid as such – an opinion.

    Chris: It is an opinion based on
    • the experience of being a downtown business owner (on Grand Ave.) for 25 years…. (also in Aspen for 17 seasons May-October)
    • “making payroll” in the downtown business for 25 years
    • constantly questioning my customer base about where their homes are, what their shopping habits are, their transportation/travelling habits, parking habits
    • interviewing, observing and questioning the business people (owners & employees) in GS and in other Colorado/Utah small towns (Durango, Steamboat, Moab, Ft Collins, Greeley etc)
    • having taking numerous seminars in business, in tourism and in small town development for over 35 years
    • experience & knowledge gleaned from my MBA (DU executive MBA program, graduation in 2002)
    • 10 years attendance/participation: GS Transportation commission meetings
    • 4 years on Glenwood Springs City Council
    • an investor in Downtown: 2 commercial and 4 residential units on the 800 block of Grand Ave.

    Kathy: The circulation pattern, if all the ACP were adopted and implemented as proposed, most certainly would change. Whether it would be to the “detriment” of the current circulation pattern is pure conjecture.

    CHRIS: While on Council 2003-2007, I attended the Dan Burden walks and seminars. He spoke about the benefit of “circulation patterns” in a town. Locals, tourists/visitors need to be able to “comfortably” get around, DRIVING and WALKING. He decried one way streets and closed off crossings.
    • My experience is that pedestrians (particularly folks that “buy” in the shops) in Glenwood usually arrive by personal vehicle before they become pedestrians.

    Chris: The town would be bisected by an ACCESS CONTROL PLAN that is designed to mitigate traffic congestion on Grand Ave.

    Kathy: The town currently is, to some degree, bisected by having SH 82 running through the center of the community.

    CHRIS: Folks can get around (either in their vehicles, or by foot) by using Grand & 7th, Grand & 8th, 9th 10th & 11th. The elementary school is on one side of Grand, library on the other- residences on both sides, shops, restaraunts on both sides, Post Office on the west, Bluebird Cafe on the east. People want to be able to access both sides of Grand- not be cut off by the traffic/by the highway.
    Grand Ave, on some days, carries as much traffic as the tunnels (which have no children, shoppers, elderly, diners… seeking to go from one side of the street to the other in the attempt to “use” the community functionally).

    KATHY: But it is also bisected by two rivers, the Roaring Fork and the Colorado. While not man-made, the community has had to make some necessary accommodations for those rivers in building community. The question is will it be MORE bisected by the ACP?

    CHRIS: Common sense dictates….Absolutely, yes…. 8th is the most used intersection in town.

    KATHY: The answer depends partly on what is adopted by the City and approved by CDOT. If intersections are limited to right-in, right-out, it could indeed make getting from the east side to the west of Grand Avenue a longer, more convoluted process. Will it prevent it? Absolutely not.

    CHRIS: What it will do is to prevent the usefulness and the accessibility of the town—– people will simply “go” to other areas (GS Mall, Wal-Mart Center, Meadows)… where it is “easy” to accomodate their vehicles and accessibility.

    CHRIS:• Glenwood citizens & visitors will be PROHIBITED from making left hand turns off Grand or onto Grand (that are currently allowed) at 56 locations between 8th and 30th.

    KATHY: I didn’t count

    CHRIS: I did count

    KATHY: but I trust that your numbers are accurate including intersections and “driveways” between 8th and Blake (30th) as the current ACP is proposed. If I counted correctly, there are 16 proposed closures between 23rd Street and 27th Street. In most of these cases, that may be an understatement as many of the businesses along this stretch have no clear entrances or exits. The same is true with the 6 or 7 “closures” from 27th to Blake (by McDonald’s) . Two things to keep in mind if I understand correctly (& I will verify and correct if this is not accurate):
    The ACP will only be triggered by
    *redevelopment of the property
    *A traffic increase of 20% to the business
    *Event of a serious accident

    CHRIS: and what is missed in the above ‘list’ is the most important “trigger”…. and that is a “change” (by the City and/or/ by the state) of the street/Hwy #82 in front of the business or residence.
    For example…. 23rd street is now being proposed to be “re-aligned”. When asked, CDOT refused to say whether or not that realignment might “trigger” the Acess Control Plan changes for Safeway, Bradley, US Bank, Arby’s, Wendys….. That seems to be disaster for those businesses if traffic cannot get “in” by a left-hand movement.

    CHRIS: • As the study is proposed now- a car would not be allowed to travel ACROSS Grand Avenue at 8th Street or at 10th Street…. which truly cuts off one side of town from the other. All of the existing cross traffic east to west and west to east that currently travels on 8th, 9th and 10th is proposed to be handled by 9th Street. Very little of the cross traffic would move farther to the south- unless 9th Street stopped working/which of course COULD happen. (8th St. is already “past capacity”.)

    KATHY: My current preference, based on the information that I have, is that 8th and 9th Streets remain fully functional, signalized intersections. I really would like to like the right-in, right-out with a “pork chop” pedestrian refuge however my concern is access to the governmental and business entities as well as a potential connection to the 7th/8th Street bridge to Midland. I also think that if pedestrians are not given the option to cross somewhere between the middle of the 700 block (the under bridge crossing) and the 9th Street, I think that they may try to make a run for it.

    CHRIS: That has been the City’s experience in the past.

    KATHY: If the decision is to go with right-in, right-out at 8th Street, then I would suggest that the city and CDOT consider a mid-block crossing in the 800 block with a pedestrian refuge in the middle of the street as well as some kind of flashing warning signal to motorists that pedestrians are present.

    CHRIS: That would defeat the purpose of the Access Control Plan

    KATHY: This would mean the elimination of two parking spaces on either side of the street to create a bulb-out, but that in itself would, theoretically have a slowing, calming effect on traffic.

    CHRIS:• There will be no turns from Grand Ave onto 7th… no access from Grand at that point, as the wing street will be closed.

    KATHY: This is true, but is more a function of the bridge replacement than of the ACP.

    CHRIS: Theses issues are inter-twined…. and it is a detriment, no matter what the “cause” is….

    CHRIS: • 5 Parking spaces will be lost from the current parking area under the bridge.

    KATHY True, but again a function of the bridge replacement more than ACP.

    CHRIS: that is an enormous loss… no matter what the cause is….

    CHRIS: • If a vehicle was parked at the new library on 8th Street: the only “move” allowed at 8th & Grand would be to take a right hand turn & go over the bridge; there is no way to stay in downtown (The wing street is also proposed to be removed)

    KATHY: The parking under the library is currently earmarked as employee parking for Colorado Mountain College. Although I had to recuse myself from this decision when it appeared before the Planning Commission, I recall that one of the conditions included that cars exiting the garage would be limited to a right-hand turn. This would mean that employees would not be using the 8th Street intersection anyway. Patrons of the library will have various parking options, but most abundant parking will be located on Cooper.

    CHRIS: There is parking on 8th—- and any traffic travelling west on 8th between Cooper & Grand will be “mandated” to turn right (mandated to LEAVE downtown).
    Staff’s “answer” to that was “people will get used to it.”
    That’s pretty “flip”.
    My experience and education says that people DO get used to it, by going somewhere ELSE, because of the inconvenience.

    KATHY: Chris is correct that if they use 8th & Grand (if limited to right-turn only), they will find themselves over the bridge. However at 8th and Cooper they will have several options including a right turn to go to Blake, or going one more block to 7th.

    CHRIS: But…. they get onto the block between Cooper & Grand…. then it is TOO LATE.

    CHRIS: • Jimmy’s 66 at 13th is supposed to share a driveway onto Grand with the neighbor to the south. Has no-one ever walked those parcels to note the huge grade difference between the 2 properties?

    KATHY: This is a misconception. If Jimmy’s 66 and the businesses next door remain as they are, then nothing will change. ….

    CHRIS: unless medians are put in, or the city/ or the state makes a change to Grand around 13th, or perhaps, if Hwy #82 is changed because of a redevelopment across the street at H&R block… or at the 2-store building on the corner.

    KATHY: If there is a redevelopment, then the access will be reviewed. The grade of the parcel next door appears to slope from east to west with the lowest nearest Grand. It appears that there is approximately a two-foot variance between the front of both parcels. I don’t think this would be a deal breaker for a shared entrance, but the grade would certainly be a consideration.

    CHRIS: Shouldn’t it be a consideration NOW while this plan is being hammered out? Why “lock-in” a poor decision/resolve to share a driveway some time in the future?

    CHRIS: • Around 23rd….if a vehicle-customer coming from south Hwy #82 wanted to make a purchase from Arby’s…. the customer would need to go PAST Arby’s, take a left into Safeway, go south through the Safeway parking lot, continue going through Wendy’s parking lot, and finally arrive in Arby’s. What do you suppose that the impact will be on Arby’s business?

    KATHY: Again, keep in mind that this change would only be implemented if the businesses, Wendy’s or Arby’s redeveloped or if the City were to decide to add medians to Grand Avenue in this location.

    CHRIS: OR if the City/State straightens out 23rd? which they ARE planning on doing?

    KATHY: I don’t see that this will be an issue in the immediate future.

    CHRIS: But why put this bad plan into a document that carries LEGAL implications?

    KATHY: There are in fact times when I have visited one or the other of these businesses, I will go back through the Safeway parking lot to make a left-hand turn onto Grand rather than take my chances in the “suicide lane” on Grand Ave.

    CHRIS: and my experience is that I can always take a left into Arby’s or Wendy’s IF the traffic is going 25 MPH….. so why make a bad planning decision?

    CHRIS: • The gas station is even beyond Arby’s. Do planners really think that a consumer would take a left into Safeway, go through Wendy’s, go through Arbys in order to get to the gas station?

    KATHY: See above comment although Chris raises a good point for this gas station. Perhaps since 22nd Street across the street is planned to be a ¾ movement intersection (Left-in ok), this site could also be considered for the same.

    CHRIS: • A customer would not be able to take a left into the US Bank in the 1900 block of Grand. When approaching from the south, the only access would be through Safeway.
    KATHY: Again – this would only take place upon redevelopment of the US Bank property.

    CHRIS: or median- or perhaps the redevelopment of 23rd.

    KATHY: I have seen the proposed route – through Safeway parking – used by quite a few people.

    CHRIS: but not MANDATED…. access is not BLOCKED now (by the way, CDOT is calling for U-turns there….. it does not appear there is enough room for U-turns with out taking some of the business property along the street).

    CHRIS: • How does Safeway feel about being the “access” for a bank, for 2 restaurants and for a gas station? How much of the Safeway driveways are given up to traffic that is not Safeway’s customers? What kind of insurance liabilities must be absorbed by Safeway with this configuration?

    KATHY: While I cannot speak for Safeway, I would imagine they would be happy with anything that would bring potential customers to their door.

    CHRIS: There is a big distinction between being used as a “drive-through” for adjoining businesses… and having their parking lot being used for their own customers.

    KATHY: Liability issues, I think, would be addressed with a reciprocal easement or access agreement that would stipulate any insurance requirement and indemnification.

    CHRIS: which could be expensive…the insurance companies won’t do that for free…

    CHRIS: • The Access Control Plan originally called for the Lutheran Church to be removed so that North Hyland drive can be straightened out to “meet” the corner of Park across the street. The plan has been changed to indicate the need to straighten out that intersection- but it could be done by taking 2 residential homes OR the Church.

    KATHY: It would only be done by “taking” IF there was a serious accident, probably a fatality. I am absolutely not an advocate of using eminent domain and would hope that the City could enter into an agreement with the appropriate land owners if and when the need or time arose. The recommendation from the City Engineer was that the City begin a fund to purchase these properties should they become available. Should CDOT feel that safety was critical, it might in fact not be the city who would exercise eminent domain.

    CHRIS: • All of the property owners on the west side of Grand Ave between North Park Drive & South Park Dr. will be forced to “share” driveways” between neighbors with the “sale and/or redevelopment of property that brings a 20% increase of traffic”. (like a daycare home!) They will only be able to take a right hand turn out of their driveways. What do you suppose this does to THEIR property values?

    KATHY: In clarification of this with Terri Partch, City Engineer, she stressed that this area is currently zoned R1/6, which is single family residential. A rezoning of this area ….

    CHRIS: or medians implemented by one government or the other?

    KATHY: would be required to create the required 20% increase in traffic. Nothing will change if these homes remain residential. If the area were to be rezoned and uses began to be changed, then access in this area would also change.

    CHRIS: • If you are in a vehicle on the east side of Grand between 14th and 20th—- you cannot take a left to get onto Grand Ave. according to the proposed plan (unless a “solution can be found for North Hyland Park Drive).. How much additional traffic does this force onto Blake Avenue ? What will the “wait” will be at he stop lights on 14th and 20th? How long do folks wait now to get across?

    KATHY: I understand, and will clarify with the City Engineer that the intersections and Park Drive and Hyland Park Drive (north) will remain full-movement intersections. Once again, nothing changes at the present time see above.

    CHRIS: if it isn’t a good idea now,,, it isn’t an any better idea in the future

    CHRIS: • When asked about pedestrian movements across Grand Ave , the planners kind of “shrugged” and stated that pedestrians would “still” be able to get across Grand at 8th (even though there’d be no signal/light…. but “perhaps” a safety median could be put there.) The PLAN calls for pedestrians to be “pushed” down to crossing under the bridge-closer to 7th…. instead of crossing at 8th (which is the heaviest used crossing in town).

    KATHY: See my response to an earlier point.

    CHRIS: • Traveling south on Hwy #82 between 23rd and 27th—- there will be NO left hand turns allowed. You won’t be able to turn left into Domino’s, Defiance Thrift Store, etc. That means BLAKE between 23rd and 27th will have to service south bound-commercial traffic that is trying to get into all the businesses between 23rd & 27th. That stretch of Blake is not in any condition to carry that kind of traffic.
    KATHY: Again, nothing is slated
    to happen until/unless there is redevelopment

    CHRIS: but the redevelopment for one business could trigger the Acess Control Plan for a large chunk of businesses…. and the Access Control Plan here is an abomination. Why agree to it AT ALL?

    KATHY:…. and or a serious accident in this area. Also see an earlier response.

    CHRIS: • The ACCESS CONTROL PLAN has Blake at 27th open through to Wal-Mart…. even though the Transportation Commission has been told by City Staff that was not being considered. Blake is not in any condition from 23rd to Wal-Mart to carry “through” traffic. Property owners along South Blake have not been noticed or consulted on this part of the proposal.

    KATHY: I have been in several meetings that opening of Blake through to WalMart was being kicked around. I have not heard that this option was off the table. I will check with City staff to get an opinion. I do think that in order for that to happen, Blake would need to be improved.

    CHRIS: Everyone in Glenwood will be affected by an ACCESS CONTROL PLAN.
    Many businesses in Downtown Glenwood will be adversely affected.
    Businesses on Hwy #82 between 19th and 23rd would be severely impacted.
    Citizens living on Blake, Cooper & Colorado will be negatively impacted.

    KATHY: There is truly no way to know to what extent businesses will be effected but the impact on our local business has always been one of my top concerns. I would direct you to a couple of reports prepared by various entities in other areas in response to very similar concerns. From reading these, it seems to be that the perceived negative effect to the business is greater than the actual negative effect.

    CHRIS: I am very leery of reports that are created by government entities. Generally speaking- the government entities are looking to “prove their own points”.
    The work done by GS Transportation staff, by CDOT, and by the CDOT consultants as far as getting input from local businesses and the local population has been abysmal until very recently.
    CDOT makes NO stipulations as to what effects that the Access Control Plan may have upon businesses. (After the GAPP, there were OVER 10 small businesses, as I recall, no longer “IN” business downtown 12 months after GAPP completion.
    (GAPP was considered by CDOT & gov’t agencies as a HUGE success). No government agency EVER did a follow-up to find out what businesses didn’t make it.

    KATHY: ftp://ftp.mdt.mt.gov/research/LIBRARY/2009-12FINALREPORT.PDF
    http://www.trpc.org/regionalplanning/landuse/Documents/Capitol%20Boulevard%20Planning%20Project/Economic_Impacts_of_Access_Mgmt.pdf
    http://www.dot.state.oh.us/districts/D01/PlanningPrograms/trafficstudies/Documents/Economic-Impacts-of-Access-Management.pdf

    KATHY: I urge everyone to continue to read, listen, and do some investigation on your own. And of course – continue to read this blog

    CHRIS: Kathy- thanks for your continuing conversation. I appreciate your hard work.

    My contention is that
    • the engineers at CDOT are extraordinarily talented.
    • They CAN move more traffic THROUGH GS in a VERY efficient manner.
    The question is…. SHOULD it be allowed? because clearly, it will have an impact on GS community life.
    Small business owners are trying to make their voices heard.
    People in the residential neighborhoods are also trying to be heard.
    But …there has been no forum where the ‘folks’ can get up in an organized way, and where they can address the community at large.

    CDOT is talking in terms of the ACP being a plan that will be impacting GS over the course of 20 years. If that is the case, we are working on the wrong plan.

    20 years is the ACP time-line “in the works”; if 20 years is being considered…. we should be doing the planning for a relocation of Hwy #82, continuing with the work already accomplished by the COS & COP, and do an EIS asap.

    We can improve the amount of vehicle trips on Grand Ave.in the short term by an effective Ride Glenwood (should be free to the rider for the best effectiveness…. as in Summit county, durango, Steamboat) and we should demand an effective RFTA in GS on the short 6-mile corridor (a RFTA that actually SERVES Glenwood for the $3.5 M that GS citizens pay annually in RFTA taxes).

    CDOT needs to increase capacity through GS….

    If CDOT can move greater amounts of vehicle trips by putting in a
    • new oversized bridge (out of scale, out of proportion to the town/taking out 2 businesses doing nothing to solve traffic/the bridge negatively impacting the entire 700 block of Grand)….
    • an Access Control Plan that is designed to carry MORE vehicle trips on one street, down the center of our community
    then… there would be no need to relocate Hwy #82, because the capacity problem would have been solved….. but solved at the EXPENSE of Glenwood Springs… our community.

  4. ktrauger says:

    Thanks for taking the time to reply Chris. I am sorry that you are finding it difficult to use this blog. I guess you get what you pay for (FREE)!! Continuing conversation is critical. If not through the newspaper – which is ok – but a significant delay, or through this blog – then how? You have said, “But …there has been no forum where the ‘folks’ can get up in an organized way, and where they can address the community at large.” What forum do you suggest? Council will take public comment at their next two meeting. Obviously that forum is not meant for back and forth discussion as you well know. There have been meetings in which City staff and CDOT have tried to answer questions, but it wasn’t a facilitated discussion as such. As a former City Council member, business owner what, specifically, do you suggest?

    • chris mcgovern says:

      Hi Kathy- perhaps formatting this as a conversation might work….

      KATHY: Thanks for taking the time to reply Chris. I am sorry that you are finding it difficult to use this blog. I guess you get what you pay for (FREE)!! Continuing conversation is critical. If not through the newspaper – which is ok – but a significant delay, or through this blog – then how?

      CHRIS: Certainly, the paper GSPI gets read by the public more than any other medium. I use e-mail, and “cc” people (whom I know to be interested) your comments in that manner.

      KATHY: You have said, “But …there has been no forum where the ‘folks’ can get up in an organized way, and where they can address the community at large.” What forum do you suggest? Council will take public comment at their next two meeting. Obviously that forum is not meant for back and forth discussion as you well know.

      CHRIS: Well-over a hundred people have showed up to voice their concerns at City Council meetings on the Bridge and/or Access Conrol Plan. Many of the folks showing up “vented”…. Council also “vented”. There was no DISCUSSION, no presentaion of the Plan, no explanation, no order to the comments. It seemed as though there was great frustration on everyone’s part.

      KATHY: There have been meetings in which City staff and CDOT have tried to answer questions, but it wasn’t a facilitated discussion as such.

      CHRIS: Correct- there was material being presented on “boards”, but 5 or 6 presentations going on at the same time, in the same room. People attending these meetings WERE appreciative of the attempt, but found the information presented in a way that was not cohesive, not very informative… and in a room that was excessively loud. It did not lead to a general understanding of the Access control Plan, nor of the Bridge design. One comment I heard often was that if attendees asked the same question of 3 different presenters- attendees frequently got 3 different answers. Also…. in that type of forum, an attendee did not get much of a chance to hear questions presented by the public to CDOT/staff/consultants, nor did attendees feel that their concerns were being heard/considered.

      A piece of paper, meant to collect comments on a
      plan that has been in the works for nearly a year,
      • a plan revised continuously,
      • a plan that consists of 18-20 pages of material and charts at any given time
      cannot possibly be responded to meaningfully in the space of 5-6 lines on a sheet of paper.

      KATHY: As a former City Council member, business owner what, specifically do you suggest?

      CHRIS: At each of the the last 2 workshops between Transportation Commission/Council I made the observation that City Council has spent 2 hours listening to the presentation for EACH of the 3 segments of the Access Control Plan with the Transportation Commission. (Council has ALSO had their OWN separate presentations by Stolfus over a period of time).
      There was a presentor (Michelle from the Stolfus Group).
      There were opportunities to make observations, to ask questions, and to get clarifications FOR EACH SEGMENT of the Access Control Plan.

      The public should be given the same courtesy.

      • Set up 3 to 6 public meetings over the course of 2 months (each meeting to consider a “segment” of the plan).
      • Make sure there are good & proper acoustics in the room/area to be used.
      • Make sure there’s enough room for the public (City Council Chambers would not work)
      • Make sure that there is adequate time for the presentation…let the presentation go on till folks are satisfied.
      • Make sure that the presentation is given in an organized fashion… start on the north at 7th & Grand, take the progression to the south (Don’t just take topics haphazardly).
      • Make sure that there are plenty of Hand-outs for the public to follow the information. Ex: power point perhaps.
      • Have a presentor explain, intersection by intersection, driveway by driveway what CDOT is proposing, and let the meeting be an “open discussion” as it goes along, so that the public can question and comment as the presentation is being made.
      • Send a personal notice to each business on Grand Ave, to each property owner on Grand Ave…. and review the mailing piece for it’s “effectiveness” in stating WHY citizens would be interested and have concerns about this plan
      *Have for the public’s perusal, a true and complete (easily accessible) copy of public input so far on CDOT’s & City of GS websites. CDOT/staff/Stolfus have been saying that they’ve been “listening”…. But they have not made public WHAT comments have been made by the public.

      That’s a “start” for a way that the public might get a chance to address this issue.
      So far, the public, rightly, feels that all the talk is being directed AT the public… and that the public has not had an opportunity to be consulted or engaged.

      Regards, Chris McGovern

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