Top priorities for Glenwood . . .are there others?

At the end of a recent blog post http://wp.me/p3S5Sv-3v I asked the question, “What do you think are the three top priorities that Glenwood should be addressing over the next 3 years?”   Some of the responses I received were expected and some were surprising.

 As promised, here are the results I have received thus far.  I have put them in alphabetical order, so there is no ranking involved.   Along with the larger categories are a few comments associated with the items.

Small beach on Roaring Fork River in Confluence area

 

  •  Authenticity
    •         Offer a more authentic experience for Glenwood visitors
    •         Emphasis on natural outdoor experience and healthy recreation and living
    •         Promotion of visual and performing arts
  • Communication
    •         Find ways to increase communication with citizens
    •         Innovative and multiple ways to communicate
    •         Develop methods/techniques/means for citizens to talk with elected    officials, boards and commissions
    •         Ongoing dialog needed – citizens get frustrated and give up
    •         Make information easily and readily accessible to the public
    •         Increase transparency
  • Confluence Redevelopment
    •         Make this are area that pulls the town together
    •         Make this a focal point for Glenwood
  • Economic Development
    •         Long-term, sustainable economic development needed
    •         Shared vision and strategy
    •         Public-Private Partnerships
    •         Work within the community to define direction and priorities
  • Housing
    •         Expand in-town choices
    •         More inventory needed in core areas
  • Leadership
    •         Identify and develop leaders in the community
    •         Determine how to get new, different, younger people involved
    •         Improve the working relationship between City staff, elected officials, boards and commission
    •         Expand communication, cooperation and collaboration with other governmental entities within the region
  • Long-term Fiscal Health
    •         Develop strategies for dealing with an increasing demand for infrastructure, services and long-term operations/maintenance
    •         Seek ways to increase efficiencies in providing services
    •         Increase the cooperation between community development and capital improvement planning
    •         Identify efficient patterns of growth

 Grand Ave by Sacred Grounds 4-5-13

  • Mobility/Transportation
    •         Improve connectivity of local network
    •         Improve bike/pedestrian facilities on existing streets
    •         Improve coordination between land use patterns and transit system – regionally
    •         Complete the Grand Avenue Bridge to maximize the benefit to Glenwood Springs and the entire region
    •         Make the hard decisions to improve north/south travel through Glenwood with an eye on practicality and the chance of it actually getting to completion
    •         Develop a Regional Transportation Master Plan
    •         Development of  Midland Avenue as an alternate route is waiting to happen
    •         Completion of South Bridge is critical
    •         Need an 8th Street connection to Midland Avenue
    •         A 14th Street connection to Midland Avenue is needed
    •         27th Street Bridge must be improved

 

6th Street Looking East Spring 2013

  • North Glenwood
    •         Currently blighted but new bridge alignment provides motivation for a new vision
    •         Has the location, infrastructure, businesses, entrepreneurs and property owners to partner with City
    •         Need to identify leaders to make this happen
  • Performing Arts Facility
    •         Focus energy on planning for the best possible facility in the best possible location

My intention is to make this an ongoing list and to address each item in upcoming posts.  Do you have additional items that should be added to this list?  Would you like to comment on any of the suggestions?  If so, please do!  You can comment on this blog or submit a comment via the form at the end of the blog.  Thanks to all who contributed and I hope to be able to continue the conversation with each of you.

I am pleased to have been selected by the Sonoran Institute to attend the Glenwood Springs Community Development Academy which will be commencing Monday evening, September 16th.  I hope to tell you about some of the discussions as we progress through the eight week journey to make Glenwood Springs even better than it is now.

Bridging the Gap

Grand Avenue 7 a.m. 2-12-13For a while, I gave up reading opines and harangues that often grace the pages of our local newspaper, the Glenwood Springs Post Independent. No longer! I eagerly scan the pages for articles, advertisements, columns, editorials and letters to the editor for yet another perspective on the three issues that seem to be at the forefront of community discontent:

• the Grand Avenue Bridge Project
• the proposed Access Control Plan
• the need for an alternate route through Glenwood Springs

One thing is crystal clear, no matter where people stand on these issues; the people of Glenwood Springs genuinely care about our town. Whether they are members of City Council, members of boards or commissions within the city of Glenwood, City staff, business owners, property owners or residents they all want what is best for Glenwood Springs. This is a very good thing!

What is NOT a good thing is that this energy is flowing in the wrong direction. CDOT, the Federal Highway Administration, City Council and staff and “Citizens to Save Grand Avenue” are not the enemy. We are in this together. It behooves us, as citizens and residents of Glenwood Springs, to work toward solutions and not against each other. Will everyone agree on a solution? Absolutely not! But the challenges we face do not have to divide our town.

The items above are three distinct concerns. Are they intertwined? Possibly. Can we just lump them together to come up with the perfect solution? Probably not.

Today, I want to look at the alternate route/bypass issue. Granted – this could take several blogs – but I will try to hit some of the main points now.

A Bypass/Alternate Route has been contemplated, for at least 30 years based, sadly, on my personal knowledge and I understand it has been discussed for longer, perhaps 50 years. Here are some facts:

•The City of Glenwood Long Range Transportation Plan (LRTP) 2003-2030 addresses the “Relocation of State Highway 82.” In this plan, the location is identified as “. . . from Exit 114 along Midland Ave., crossing the Roaring Fork River and continuing along the rail corridor until 23rd Ave connecting to the existing Highway 82.” The LRTP goes on to say “It involves reconstructing Exit 114 and installing a bridge over the Roaring Fork River to connect to 8th Street, depending on the exact location of the preferred corridor. It also includes constructing an additional road, details depending on preferred corridor, following the rail corridor and a possible reconstruction of the 23rd Street intersection where it potentially will connect with the existing Highway 82.”
NOTE: Exit 114 – as mentioned in the above plan is the WEST Glenwood Exit.

•The same LRTP plan indicated “This is a cost estimate based on the 1999 analysis of Balloffet and Associates, Inc. in their Glenwood Springs State Highway 82 Alternatives. The approximate cost is $53 million.”

•The City’s Comprehensive Plan, adopted in March 2011 states, “The vision for transportation in Glenwood Springs is an integrated and balanced multi-modal transportation system –one that supports regional travel needs but not to the extent that it compromises a healthy, dynamic downtown, economic viability, pedestrian-orientation, and easy access to the city core.”

Key objectives in the Comp Plan include:
•Maximize effective traffic movement on Grand Avenue to the extent that it is consistent with maintaining pedestrian friendliness
•Increase the connectivity of local streets, trails and walkways to provide multiple routes for circulation through town
•Continue to assess and plan for an alternative alignment of State Highway (SH) 82
•Provide convenient alternatives to automobile circulation within the city limits for local residents and visitors.

The Comp Plan absolutely recommends that nothing should be done that will preclude an alternate route.

However, the Comp Plan also recognizes that the project is not currently part of the Statewide Transportation Improvement Program (STIP) nor is there currently funding for such a project. That does not mean that funding is impossible. It is just simply not on the radar at this time – partly due to the fact that, in spite of the information in the LRTP – there has never been consensus on exactly how and where the alternate route should go. Add to the mix is the fact that in order to make this happen, the City must work with the County, Union Pacific and RFTA in the preservation of the rail corridor.

One other point:
Funds for the Grand Avenue Bridge replacement come from the Colorado Bridge Enterprise Fund and cannot be used to fund a bypass/alternate route. From the CDOT Website, “The purpose of the CBE is to finance, repair, reconstruct and replace bridges designated as structurally deficient or functionally obsolete, and rated “poor.”

There is no easy solution. I am all for rolling up our sleeves and working together to finally find some additional routes for all transit through town. However, simply saying that we should not move forward to replace our aging bridge until we have an alternate route is not the answer. That is akin to burying your head in the sand and waiting until everything is just perfect and comes together in just the right way. We need to let go of our perfectionism and work toward practical, financially realistic solutions to our problems.