Permanent changes coming to Aspen’s second most dangerous intersection |

Permanent changes coming to Aspen’s second most dangerous intersection

Four-way stop at Cooper Avenue and Spring Street to be installed in offseason

The City of Aspen will budget for pedestrian improvements in 2022, including the four-way stop at the City Market intersection. (Kelsey Brunner/The Aspen Times)

The city of Aspen will spend roughly $1 million this year on pedestrian improvements, which includes the installation of a four-way stop at the second most dangerous intersection in town.

Aspen City Council this week approved a contract for $838,000 that will go toward this year’s concrete replacement and pedestrian improvements, as well as $119,354 for related engineering expenditures and $120,444 for costs associated with the parks department.

One of the more significant and noticeable projects will be at Cooper Avenue and Spring Street (by City Market), which is the second most dangerous intersection in Aspen behind Mill and Main streets (out front of Hotel Jerome), according to City Engineer Trish Aragon.

A living lab, which had bollards placed in the road at all four corners that served as curb extensions at Spring and Cooper, was conducted last summer.

Data collected during that time showed a 23% decrease in close calls between pedestrians and cars, according to city engineers. The improvements also resulted in a 14% increase in vehicle stop sign compliance.

Permanent changes will extend the walking surface to decrease the distance a pedestrian must walk in traffic. Curb extensions will increase the visibility of pedestrians and improve driver compliance with stop signs and crosswalks.

The improvements will be made between April 1 and June 1, according to Jack Danneberg, project manager in the city’s engineering department.

Mayor Torre asked during Tuesday’s meeting why bulb-outs are being installed rather just relying on the bollards that were placed at the intersection last summer as part of the experiment, which he called a “great success.”

Aragon said it is a year-round solution.

“We don’t only get pedestrians in the summer, we don’t only get bikes in the summer and we don’t only have safety issues in the summer so this is to make it a year-round improvement to that intersection,” she said.

Stop signs will be installed on Spring Street making it a four-way stop intersection to combat the confusion of whom has the right of way.

The total cost of the improvements at Spring and Cooper are estimated to be around $550,000, according to Danneberg.

Pedestrian improvements on the south end of Monarch Street will cost $362,000 and are related to the development of a new park called the Dolinsek Gardens as part of the Lift One Corridor development.

A sidewalk and a mid-block crossing on Monarch Street are part of the park redevelopment.

Roughly $100,000 is committed to general concrete replacement around town and is part of the overall contract approved by council.

Some projects have been deferred as construction costs continue to rise, according to city engineers.

The original bid from Excavation Services Inc. was just over $2 million, so staff negotiated a decreased scope of work to bring down the costs.

Yellow Brick storm improvements, Red Brick pedestrian and storm improvements and Hyman Avenue storm and pedestrian improvements were initially included but will be deferred to make funds available for the priority projects.

Due to the volume of people and cars, the intersection in front of the Hotel Jerome is considered the most dangerous in Aspen. Council and city staff did not address improvements for that area during this week’s meeting.

Concrete replacement is an annual series of projects with sidewalk, trails, ADA, and infrastructure repairs and improvements combined into one project to decrease city costs, maximize scheduling efficiencies, and increase interest from the local construction industry, according to city engineers.

Last year, the city installed over 300 feet of sidewalk, four ADA ramps, 500 feet of trails, 150 feet of curb and gutter, as well as upgraded one bus stop and repaired two stormwater inlets.

This year, the project is focusing on improving pedestrian safety and maintaining critical infrastructure.