Aspen plans biking, pedestrian improvements
ASPEN, Colorado ” Nearly $1 million will be spent next year in an attempt to make life easier and safer for those traveling in Aspen on foot or bicycle.
The Aspen City Council on Tuesday prioritized four projects that will help pedestrians and bicyclists move around town better.
The council told the pedestrian and traffic safety committee, which is made up of city employees, to focus next year’s priorities on Main and Mill streets, Gibson Avenue and the area leading out of town on the east end.
Because the committee and elected leaders recognize that Main Street is intimidating to pedestrians and serves as a barrier when traveling north and south, a few things are being planned to improve it.
The first is to install a median on Main Street where it intersects with Garmisch Street, located on the west side of Paepcke Park. There is no stop light there so pedestrians crossing Main Street are often caught in the middle waiting for traffic to stop.
A pedestrian refuge in the middle of the street will give people a place to wait for oncoming traffic to slow down and stop, said Assistant City Manager Randy Ready.
There also will be a raised or colored crosswalk, more lighting and an electronic speed limit sign so oncoming vehicles are warned to slow down. A sidewalk also will be installed on the west side of Paepcke Park. The estimated design cost for the project is $90,000 and the construction cost is expected to be $350,000.
Shared lane marking, also known as a “sharrow,” will allow bicycles to share the road with other vehicles. The west lane on Mill Street will have a dedicated bicycle lane. The crosswalk near Clark’s Market will relocated so it is directly across from the bus stop.
There also will be better signs indicating where certain amenities are near Rio Grande Park, and trails near Puppy Smith and the Yellow Brick schoolhouse.
The estimated design cost is $90,000 and the construction cost is $500,000.
Recognizing the lack of a safe route out of town on the east end of Aspen, the council has directed city engineers to widen and rebuild the sidewalk on the Cooper Avenue Bridge and create a sidewalk on the south side of Highway 82.
The cost of the project is expected to be $980,000, which includes construction and design work.
A sidewalk will be added to Gibson Avenue between Neal Avenue and Maple Lane. The estimated cost will be $40,000.
The Limelight Lodge project has paid a pedestrian amenity amount of $782,900 to the city of Aspen. The pedestrian traffic safety committee has $33,000 in its current account balance, and a portion of open space money could be used for landscaping and park-type improvements.
Future funding sources could include money paid into the pedestrian improvement fund by developers proposing commercial projects in Aspen. The city’s transportation use tax also could be an option.