Chris McGovern’s Comments to City Council Regarding the Bridge

When a bridge design was selected, the “choice” subsequently published…. and briefly mentioned at the Transportation Commission meeting a few months ago…. Dave Alcott, the head of the Transportation Commission at the time, summed up the situation succinctly: by saying that the new Bridge design is “paving over paradise”… and that it is not doing a thing to solve Glenwood’s traffic problem.

Today’s meeting along the 700 block of Grand Ave was a valiant attempt to show the community where the parameters of the proposed bridge might be, and what the height of a proposed bridge might be.
Unfortunately, even though the presenter had a microphone…. because of the noise of the traffic going by…. it was very hard to hear his points, and impossible to hear the questions from the public. Tom (as the presenter) was good enough to usually repeat the questions, but unless a person was to the “front” of his microphone…. the conversation could not be heard.
I bring up this point about the noise, because Dave Sturges had asked about traffic noise during one of Council’s workshops. Noise is intense on all of Grand Avenue…. and that is simply from the traffic going by. Noise does not seem to get significantly more or less intense with vehicles stopping and/or starting. The level of noise is high on Grand simply with “Traffic” moving along the street.
So NOISE was the first issue that I wanted to address concerning the bridge.
The community of Glenwood Springs has overwhelmingly opposed the removal of the left-hand turns from SH 82 to 8th Street.
CDOT is stipulating that the width of the proposed bridge is the primary reason to eliminate left hand turns at 8th & Grand. (That is quoted from David Eller’s post on the OUR TOWN blog a few days ago. David Eller is the director of CDOT Region 3.
THEN Mr Eller goes on to say that : “The only way to prevent left-hand turns from SH 82 is with some sort of median or barrier. It is not reasonable to expect that a sign on the signal arm stating “No Lefts” would prevent motorists from attempting to make left turns from SH 82 from a through lane. The resulting unlawful left-turn movements would cause safety and mobility problems for everyone else on SH 82. He goes on to say: Unfortunately, this is one of those situations where compromise is going to be needed.”
In all of the workshops that I have attended, and all of the presentations that I have attended…. this is the first notice that I have heard where CDOT is STIPULATING that there will be a barrier on Grand Ave at 8th to PREVENT left hand turns.
The “compromise” that Mr Eller is referring to is not a “compromise” at all…. but a requirement that Glenwood Springs give up more of its character and more of its vehicle circulation for CDOT’s BRIDGE plan.
With the poles showing the width of the bridge coming in so tightly to the shops on the 700 block of Grand Ave, there will literally be a TUNNEL created on that block… both the east and west sides. The downtown district of Glenwood is barely 2 ½ blocks…. nearly ½ of the business district will be severely impacted by additional noise, and a lessening of space and openness.
The economic Survey presented to City Council in November 2003
stipulated that 40% of Glenwood’s sales tax base is generated by Tourists, and the Chamber of Commerce Study indicated that
• 60 % of tourists to the area expect to shop while visiting
• 70% of tourists to the area expect to eat in a restaurant
while visiting Glenwood
• The amount of traffic ABSOLUTELY creates an impact on our tourist and local business. I live in Downtown, and have a porch that fronts the street. Quite a number of visitors to town have stopped to speak while walking through downtown…. and quite a few have lamented the amount of traffic going through Glenwood’s main street. “It used to be different” several have said.

Glenwood downtown businesses need to attract both local business
and tourist business to survive and to thrive. The pool, the cavern and the tram need a charming downtown to “round out” their offerings.

It is not just an OPINION that these projects hurt business. Many small businesses did not have the ability to survive a full 12 months after the GAPP Project. These “capital projects” that keep being thrust on the community of Downtown are NOT in the interests of the Glenwood Community when they are over-sized and/or over-reach.

Sumner Schachter made the following points:
• Make sure that the final design is worthy of a long term gateway to our town. And I would add…. make sure that the bridge design in proportion to our town (not a Los Angeles style bridge)
• Make sure that the construction of this bridge will not preclude any of the options in the COS. Sumner says that he believes that completion of this bridge will make an “alternate route” (or I’d add a relocation of Hwy #82) option for Glenwood a much lower priority to CDOT and corresponding Federal funds since the new bridge would solve most of CDOT’s ‘problems (but not ours).
• Try to get the bridge as narrow as possible and impact the 7th to 8th street block as little as possible.

Thank you for the opportunity to address Council.

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