Downtown Aspen street to become one-way
Hyman Avenue and Mill Street in downtown Aspen will become a one-way street on Thursday and remain that way for at least 18 months while the Crystal Palace dinner theater is remodeled into a boutique hotel.
Traffic will flow east and then north from the corner of Monarch Street, down Hyman Avenue and then onto Mill Street to the intersection at Hopkins Avenue.
Two-way traffic will resume on the north side of that intersection on Mill Street.
Barriers will be placed on the street and a new bike lane will be painted Thursday.
While that occurs, all parking along Mill Street and Hyman Avenue will be taken by the construction site in order to stripe the new traffic configuration.
Stop signs will be placed at the Hopkins Avenue and Mill Street intersection, with a four-way stop in force beginning Thursday, according to Patrick Harris, the city’s construction mitigation officer.
He also confirmed that 14 parking spaces on Hyman and Monarch will be eliminated during the project.
Remaining parking on Hyman Avenue and Mill Street does not change, so parallel parking will continue, according to Harris.
Because the northwest corner of Hyman and Monarch will be part of the construction site, the Hunter Creek bus cannot make the turning radius it needs and will be rerouted to Aspen Street and then onto Hyman.
The developer, Mark Hunt and his contractor, Centaur Construction, must use a portion of the street to brace the west and north walls of the building, which are historic.
A 26-foot-deep basement will be excavated on the site, and the development will include two full stories and a recessed third story across the 9,000-square-foot lot.
Chris Bendon, a land-use planner representing Hunt, said it will be a tricky project because it’s in a confined space where business is being conducted all around it.
“Downtown projects are technically complicated,” he said.
Hunt received approval in 2018 to build the 20-room hotel, along with a spa, fitness center, pool, restaurant and cafe, and a rooftop terrace.
Bendon said the project team last month visited with the surrounding businesses on the one-way route and have addressed people’s concerns regarding trash service and deliveries.
“For the most part, people are appreciative of the notice,” he said.
Gena Buhler, executive director of the Wheeler Opera House, which hosts hundreds of performances a year and thousands of guests, said the one-way street will impact loading access and parking for large shows.
“We have had fantastic communication from the project and are confident that we have plans in place to work through this during the next 18 months, including traffic stops for truck access,” Buhler said.
A project kickoff meeting is scheduled for Wednesday in the Crystal Palace building from 5 to 7 p.m. The design team will go over construction phasing, scheduling, impacts of the project and what it means for neighboring businesses, special events and transportation providers.
A second meeting is scheduled for Sept. 11 from 5 to 7 p.m. also at the Crystal Palace, located at 300 E. Hyman Ave.
City Engineer Trish Aragon has said in the past that the one-way street route will return to two-way traffic after the construction project is over, unless council and the public would like the change to be permanent.
The city made Galena Street and Cooper Avenue one way from Hopkins Avenue to Hunter in the mid-2000s first as an experiment, which then became a permanent change.
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