Midland Park area might get one-way loop
The Aspen Times
Aspen, CO Colorado
ASPEN ” A circuit of narrow and congested streets on Aspen’s east side is about to become a one-way loop if the Aspen City Council sticks with a consensus reached in a work session this week.
The council agreed in principle at a July 8 work session to spend as much as $450,000 to make changes to the traffic patterns and improvements to one of the last neighborhoods in town to undergo the kind of high-end redevelopment that has becomes common in other parts of Aspen.
The neighborhood in question surrounds the intersection of Park and Midland avenues, bordered by Highway 82 to the south and the Smuggler Mobile Home Park/Centennial area to the north.
In the wake of a study by city staff and consultants, the neighborhood is poised to become a loop of one-way streets with bikeways and pedestrian paths marked off with painted lines.
Park Avenue, under the first option favored by all City Council members, would be converted from two-way traffic to one-way travel moving southward from the intersection with the short Midland Avenue connector and toward the junction with Highway 82.
Midland Avenue, conversely, would be one-way heading north, away from Highway 82. A new sidewalk would be added to the Hopkins Avenue link between Park and Midland, to improve pedestrian access to the publicly owned Snyder Park along Midland.
The study of the area, conducted by JR Engineering in consultation with the city’s engineering department, laid out a number of other options for the area.
These included such proposals as widening the narrow Park Avenue roadway to accommodate sidewalks on one side (Option 2) or on both sides (Option 3). These proposals also would include a new sidewalk along Hopkins Avenue for pedestrians heading to Snyder Park.
Option 4 would be to leave conditions as they are.
The council, after hearing overwhelming support from members of the public for Option 1, agreed that it was the best option, not least because it cost $209,000 compared to $364,700 to put a sidewalk along one side of Park Avenue or $471,300 to put sidewalks on both sides of Park.
Also included in a memo to the City Council was a $250,000 cost estimate for improvements to the intersection of Park Avenue and Park Circle, involving considerable expansion of the public right of way at the corner. It was unclear whether the council feels that option should be further pursued.
At least one of the residents who attended the July 8 work session was not happy with the result.
Greg Mebel, who with his wife and young child lives on Midland Avenue, worried that creating the one-way loop would bring added traffic down what has been “a street that you don’t need to travel on unless you live there.”
He said that the new arrangement would mean traffic bound from Highway 82 to the Smuggler area would now have to turn onto Midland rather than having the choice of Midland or Park, which he feared would mean a significantly increased volume of cars.
The City Council will formally take up the issue at a future regular meeting, and city engineer Trish Aragon suggested it might be advisable to hold further meetings to gather additional public input before making a final decision.
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Colorado Gov. Jared Polis has tested positive for the coronavirus. Polis and his partner, Marlon Reis, both have COVID-19 and are asymptomatic, the governor said in a statement Saturday night.