Eagle hosts design workshops to get public input on Grand Avenue plan | VailDaily.com

Eagle hosts design workshops to get public input on Grand Avenue plan

The town will hold two more events Tuesday afternoon for community members to make their voices heard

Eagle is working on a corridor plan for Grand Avenue, the main road through town. Town officials and planners host a design workshop on Friday, July 16, in which they asked the public to share ideas for the corridor.
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The town of Eagle will host two more design workshop events Tuesday afternoon to get public input on the Grand Avenue Corridor Plan, which seeks to make the downtown stretch of U.S. Highway 6, known as Grand Avenue, safer and more accessible for drivers, bikers and pedestrians.

The two events are far from the first or last opportunity for Eagle residents to weigh in on the plan, Eagle Assistant Town Manager Bill Shrum said. The town has created a Grand Avenue Corridor Plan website with several links where locals can make their thoughts, ideas and feelings known.

“At the end of the day, the design team and all of us from the town are only as good as the feedback we get from the public,” Shrum said. “We recognize that there’s a whole bunch of different concerns that we have there on Grand Avenue and we are not necessarily the experts on the site and how people use it.”

Tuesday’s events are the conclusion of a weeklong effort to collect the public’s feedback on various aspects of the project through audits, discussions and activities, said Pedro Campos and Samantha Thomas-Lorenz, two members of the project’s design team.

A long-term, comprehensive project like the Grand Avenue Corridor project is something that truly affects everyone in the community, Campos said.

“When people are able to attend these workshops and these sessions, they can tell us specifically how they use Grand Avenue and we can extrapolate from that some design solutions to try and improve their quality of life,” Shrum said.

Tuesday will start off with a drop-in design studio from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. in Suite 202 of McDowell Engineering, located at 241 Broadway St. in Eagle. The public will have the chance to “stop in and see work in progress” and ask questions as engineers begin incorporating their feedback from earlier events, Thomas-Lorenz said.

Later in the day, a closing session will be held from 4 to 5 p.m. at Eagle Town Hall, located at 200 Broadway St. in Eagle, in which planners will present an overview of the public input gathered and allow residents to add anything they feel was missed, she said.

Community members look at an informational display during the kick-off of a series of events held by the town of Eagle to get public input on its Grand Avenue Corridor Plan.
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The roughly 30 residents who attended the first design event Friday expressed concerns with the area not being safe for drivers as well as bikers and other pedestrians, Thomas-Lorenz said. One priority they expressed for the project was the continuation of the eco trail, which would fill the gap in trails that exists primarily along Grand Avenue.

Other priorities expressed were to create better access to downtown businesses for bikers and pedestrians traveling along Grand Avenue, to improve the flow of traffic and to provide more parking.

“I would say fairly unanimously it’s recognized that today Grand Avenue is not consistent in its curb appeal, it is not safe … and then, of course, concerns on pedestrian and biker safety due to speeds and crossing locations or, in many cases, lack thereof,” Thomas-Lorenz said.

One traffic improvement proposed is the implementation of roundabouts at Fifth and Third streets to reduce the number of time-consuming and hazardous left turns along the road, she said.

Friday’s public conversation also touched on different areas where Grand Avenue could potentially support street parking.

Participants gather for a bike audit designed to test out what it is like to travel the Grand Avenue corridor on a bicycle and what safety concerns must be addressed in the corridor plan.
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Also last week, a bike audit was held to test out what it is like to travel Grand Avenue on a bicycle and what safety concerns must be addressed, Campos said. The event drew 17 participants who biked in two groups down the corridor, identifying various “safety and connectivity” challenges and other observations along the way, he said.

Representatives of the Walking Mountains Science Center’s Climate Action Collaborative group also attended the bike audit to look at how the project fits into the valley’s broader climate action goals, Campos said. Six similar events have been held with participants walking the area on foot.

The project’s planners have been engaging with community stakeholders over the past week as well, Thomas-Lorenz said. They hosted an economic roundtable event with the Eagle Downtown Development Authority, Eagle Chamber of Commerce and the town’s Economic Vitality Committee, in which they discussed design strategies and different ways to fund them.

They also met with representatives from the Eagle Police Department and the Greater Eagle Fire Protection District, who informed them about the safety realities associated with the project and shared their needs, Thomas-Lorenz said.

Finally, the team met with property owners in the corridor who will be impacted by various phases of the plan to get their thoughts on access, parking and preserving the character of the area, she said.

“The desire for the future (is) to have Grand Avenue become a stronger gateway for Eagle that not only distinguishes the character of Eagle in the sense of arrival into the town but then, very importantly, connects it to the town core, especially Broadway,” Thomas-Lorenz said.

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