Sumner Schachter Letter to City Council

This letter by Sumner Schachter was forwarded to me by Chris McGovern with the request that it be posted. Happy to comply.

Dear Council Members,

I am writing you to express some of my views and encourage you to stop or delay the Hwy 82/Glenwood Access plan and focus all of your attention and the town’s attention on the Grand Avenue Bridge.

My belief is that the current bridge replacement and the access plan are not in Glenwood’s best interest at this time. They seem to be driven by the needs and goals of CDOT for facilitating traffic from I-70 through Glenwood. Those goals have not been aligned with ours. Let’s fine tune, reaffirm and adopt what is best for Glenwood and then have CDOT work with us to see how their needs mesh with ours. While it might have been better if the catalyst for the bridge would have been us, it is occurring. The replacement of the Grand Avenue bridge is not currently a high priority for GS. I doubt it would have come up by this council . It does not seem to be a high priority mentioned in other studies. It is a CDOT and (I70) priority—they have the specific funds and ‘our’ bridge does not meet their functional needs and seems to slow traffic on 82 and also limits the eastbound entrance to I70. So they have made it their priority to replace it and therefore it is on your plate instead of a more comprehensive and detailed transportation plan that includes, finally, an 82 plan, our downtown development, pedestrian and bike traffic, eighth street realignment and possible river front development—the elements in the comp. plan.

The bridge replacement may be going forward whether we like it or not. Nevertheless, we should be able to exert leverage and input to make the auto and pedestrian/bike bridge construction and design as good as possible. It seems to me that the access plan is diverting attention from the bridge, confusing much of the community, creating additional opposition to the bridge project and not necessary for Glenwood at this time. While the process developed by CDOT and consultants is engaging and well orchestrated, the product seems unnecessary and, perhaps, flawed. Let’s not let great process mask poor judgment and planning.

I think it would be much healthier for our town and the ‘political’ process if Glenwood will adopt a comprehensive long term transportation plan—autos, trucks, buses,
pedestrians, bikes, emergency access and egress—from the elements of the many studies already done including the COS. While the revised comp plan addresses some of this, it is not a specific long term strategic and action plan for implementation. If we had a plan, then we would be more clear with CDOT and insistent that they mesh their needs with ours. If not by design, then by circumstance, a big portion of the future of our downtown and small town character and long delayed transportation issues have come up during your term(s).

So, please stop the Access Plan study (for now), continue to focus on the bridge and its many implications for Glenwood and include the dissenters/critics in the process and don’t close ranks. As far as the COS, nothing is impossible. The Glenwood Canyon, Snowmass Canyon, Edwards, CO…were all thought impossible and unaffordable at some point in the past.

I urge you to drop the access plan and turn all focus on the bridge.
Please try to:
1. Make sure that the final design is worthy of a long term gateway to our town.
2. Make sure that the construction of this bridge would not preclude any of the options in the COS. I do believe that completion of this bridge will make an “alternate route” option for Glenwood a much lower priority to CDOT and Federal funds since the new bridge would solve most of their ‘problems ‘, but not ours.
3. Make sure that a pedestrian bridge and bikeway is included at their cost.
4. Try to get the bridge as narrow as possible and impact the 7th to 8th street block as little as possible.
5. Make sure that an 8th street realignment is still possible if the city decides to go ahead with that option. Keep 8th and Grand as accessible pedestrian intersection.
6. Bring more discussion and groups to the table. There have been many letters opposed to the bridge and there is the Save Grand Ave. group also. I have not seem similar support for ‘build the bridge’. That doesn’t mean it does not exist. However, it seems that there are more voices to be heard and more time should be spent listening to those voices and building participation.
7. Make sure that Glenwood can function during construction. I don’t think that has been clarified well enough yet.
8. Try to include noise and visual mitigation to 7th-9th street on Grand Avenue wherever possible.

Thanks for listening and for your hard work and service.

Sincerely,
Sumner Schachter
1204 Blake (PO Box 61)
Glenwood Springs

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