Aspen considering one-way streets in dense neighborhood
Residents in the neighborhoods surrounding Park and Midland avenues in Aspen’s east end will be getting notified by the city that it plans to experiment with one-way roads next summer.
Recognizing that Park and Midland are two streets that are narrow and cause vehicle and pedestrian conflicts, Aspen City Council last week agreed to pursue a living lab experiment that will transform the roads into one-way thoroughfares in 2020.
In the meantime, the city engineering department will do outreach to the neighbors letting them know that a change will be occurring, and it will likely mean losing parking along the streets.
The Midland and Park experiment came up during council’s discussion of next year’s budget; outreach is estimated at $12,000 and the living lab is projected to cost $55,000.
Mayor Torre wanted to make the temporary change this fall, before winter sets in, pointing out that snow piles make the roads even narrower.
Torre suggested a work session soon to allow residents in the area to weigh in prior to the experiment.
But because of physical constraints due to weather and a lack of support from other council members, the living lab will be carried out next year.
“It’s a pretty intensive pedestrian thoroughfare, and I’m interested in doing something,” Torre said during the Oct. 7 budget work session. “This conversation has been going on for years and this neighborhood has never agreed fully on solutions and never will fully agree on solutions, and in times like these we need a larger eye on safety.”
Councilwoman Rachel Richards said she prefers allocating more money to the outreach portion of the project and then accelerate it next year if the one-way concept is well-accepted and it works.
City Manager Sara Ott said she would feel more comfortable waiting so more than a vocal minority in the neighborhood has adequate notice of the impending changes.
She asked council members to consider what they believe success is if all of Midland and Park avenues were turned into one-way streets, potentially creating a loop.
“We are at a place where there will be competing views of what success is,” she said.
City Engineer Trish Aragon will come back to council at a later date to discuss next steps.
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