Busy intersection near Aspen City Market sees temporary modification
Bollards extended into the street to further protect pedestrians crossing Spring Street and Cooper Avenue
There’s a new setup at the intersection of Spring Street and Cooper Avenue that’s designed to improve the safety of pedestrians.
The living lab, which will be in place until October, involves bollards jutting out an additional few feet from the curb on all four corners of the intersection.
The idea is that it will allow pedestrians a safe entry point into the road, and signal to motorists to slow down and be aware of bicyclists and pedestrians.
It’s rated the No. 2 accident-prone intersection in town, and a study in 2019 showed that 70% of vehicles do not stop at stop signs on Cooper Avenue on either side Spring Street, according to Denise White, the city’s director of communications.
“We want to make it more uncomfortable for drivers and more comfortable for pedestrians,” she said. “The idea of this is to get more predictability and visibility in this area.”
One of the dynamics of the area is that the streets are much wider than other parts of town, which creates a longer distance for pedestrians to cross and vehicles travel at a higher rate of speed.
“There’s definitely some challenges with that intersection,” White said. “We don’t need a four-lane intersection, we need something that’s consistent with the core.”
The bollards are a temporary fix to see if extending the curbs permanently will solve the current issues.
“Now you can step out and see what’s coming,” White said. “This shortens the length to cross, less time in traffic.”
The change is part of the city’s overall pedestrian and bicycle master plan, which has identified the area needing improvement.
The 2019 study indicated that people feel exposed crossing the intersection, which is considered a place where there are too many near misses between pedestrians and vehicles.
The new design allows vehicles and bicyclists to share the street, and there is enough room for fire trucks to navigate the intersection, White said.
Planters with drought resistant landscaping will be placed inside the bollards in the coming days.
The city is taking feedback about the new change at http://www.aspencommunityvoice.com.
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