‘West End Sneak’ for commuters to be designated for pedestrians, bicyclists
Lake Avenue in Aspen’s West End to become another thoroughfare that disallows cars from traveling more than a block
Aspen City Council on Monday agreed to designate a popular vehicular route out of town in a West End neighborhood as a pedestrian and bikeway.
Seven blocks from Garmisch to North streets along Lake Avenue will be dedicated to pedestrians and bicyclists in the coming months.
Just like the ones on Hallam Street and Hopkins Avenue, the newest pedestrian and bikeway is designed to only allow cars to travel for one block.
Council members were generally supportive of the change, but voiced concern that the designation will push cars onto other streets in the neighborhood.
“This is a long route and any time we put these in there are always people for and against,” said Mayor Torre, who asked if there was adequate public outreach with residents in the area.
Pete Rice, division manager in the city’s engineering department, said a broad outreach effort occurred when the master plan was first initiated.
Project manager Carly McGowan said about a dozen residents who live near Triangle Park were contacted by the city this past August.
She said they were in favor of the pedestrian and bikeway, citing safety concerns with children playing in the park and cars speeding along Lake Avenue.
The route is known as the “West End sneak” for motorists who avoid the traditional Main Street or Smuggler Street alternatives going out of town.
The new pedestrian and bikeway will be from Garmisch by the Red Brick school, one block on Francis Street, then one block on First Street, then to Lake Avenue around the park to North Street for the last four blocks.
Councilwoman Ann Mullins said she’s concerned that the move will push more cars onto Smuggler Street, so outreach will be key.
“That traffic is really heavy, they drive really fast, don’t stop at stop signs so whatever we do we have to send that messaging out that this is not a thoroughfare out of town,” she said.
Rice and City Engineer Trish Aragon said more outreach will be conducted in the future.
“We need correct outreach and enforcement to make sure this is implemented correctly,” Aragon said.
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A piece of West End property is the subject of a federal lawsuit filed by an Aspen law firm on behalf of a local hotel developer and operator.