by clopez | email@example.com
photo by Owen Woods for the Citizen
ALAMOSA residents turned out Wednesday night to voice complaints before the City Council about the redesign of Main Street. The concerns ranged from pulling a tractor trailer down a tighter Main to removing snow following a storm.
The city council heard about 90 minutes of citizen comments, with most imploring the city council to reverse course and return Main Street back to wider pathways to move traffic. There were an estimated 50 people inside the council chambers and another 70 on Zoom.
“Right now it’s a mess, but it can be fixed,” said Larry Jack. He said he works to clear Main Street for the Colorado Department of Transportation when the snow falls.
“Let’s just admit that we made a mistake and let’s correct it now,” local business owner Leroy Martinez said.
Ruthie Brown, owner of the Green Spot, came forward with pages of signatures collected requesting changes to the redesign.
There were also concerns raised about traffic now skipping Main Street and traveling down Fourth Street as an alternate route.
Designed To Cause Friction
Ahead of the comments, City Manager Heather Brooks went back through the process the city set up and followed over the past three years to adopt a Downtown Design Plan.
The city is adding pedestrian crossings at Main Street and San Juan Avenue and Main Street and Hunt Avenue to help with pedestrian safety concerns downtown.
It was the third straight city council meeting where Brooks presented the information and talked about how the redesign of Main Street was created to cause “friction” and to force drivers to slow down and pay attention.
“This design for pedestrians is actually safer,” Brooks said, taking the audience through the odds of survivability of pedestrian accidents based on how fast cars are traveling. The slower the car is moving, the better for the pedestrian if hit.
‘Stay The Course’
Some residents came with ideas for adjustments, and others told the city to “stay the course.”
Ideas offered included making Main Street one lane instead of two to give more room to drive Main Street, turning Main Street and Sixth Street back to two-way roads and making Sixth a bypass for heavy vehicles, and eliminating all the parking spaces on Main to allow for wider pathways for vehicles.
Others showed up to commend the city council for the efforts to improve downtown and cater to pedestrians through “road diets” that reconfigure lanes to add safety for pedestrians.
“I hope you’ll continue to do what you’re doing,” said Jim Relyea. He offered that he would “like to see a lot more courtesy in our driving, in our parking, and the way we treat each other, and I think that will alleviate a lot of what we’re hearing.”
At its meeting two weeks ago, members of the city council voiced support for the redesign after they spent time driving Main Street and watching the traffic and pedestrian flow. They did so again Wednesday before a crowded city council chambers, but also committed to pushing for changes.
“We are going to have to make some changes, I do believe,” said Councilman Mike Carson, who then pushed the city staff to look at adding back disability parking to Main Street and predicted pass-through traffic would shift to Fourth Street.
Councilman Jan Vigil pushed the city to move the curbs back to help with parking.
With pedestrian crossings soon to be installed and wayfinding signage coming in 2022, the city is looking to continue to make changes to downtown and essentially “stay the course” on its redesign.
“It’s not on our radar to go back to three (lanes), so I want to be straightforward about that,” Brooks said.
Past Main Street Coverage: https://www.alamosacitizen.com/main-street-alamosa-arrives/
Other City Council Action:
- The city council adopted an ordinance that allows the parking of RVs anywhere on a residential lot. There was no opposition to the proposal and the city council adopted the recommendation unanimously.
- The city council adopted a memorandum of understanding between Alamosa Police and Alamosa County Sheriff’s Office for mental health services provided through a grant from the Colorado Department of Local Affairs.