TELLURIDE – This summer, drivers in Telluride will be encouraged to go slow, whether they feel like it or not.
Telluride Town Council agreed at its most recent meeting to a series of so-called traffic-calming measures along Colorado Avenue that will be enacted starting this summer.
Measures will range from the subtle (more signs posted along Colorado Avenue reminding drivers that the general speed limit throughout town is 15 mph) to the obvious (a new solar-powered 15 mph speed-limit sign that flashes your speed between Clark’s Market and Davis Street on eastbound Colorado Avenue near Cornet Creek) to the potentially annoying (a temporary “chicane” to be built between Laurel and Columbine streets, using Jersey barriers to create extra turns in the road to deliberately slow traffic for safety).
Council rejected outright a proposal to install rumble strips east of Clark’s Market as a means of encouraging cars to slow down.
“Bicycles hate them,” noted councilor Ann Brady, while councilor Bob Saunders said he was concerned about “creating more noise.”
The measures are part of a proposed Traffic Calming Work Plan devised by a task force that has focused on the problem of speeding in town since last winter. The plan was presented to council at its April 23 meeting. Implementation is divided into short-term (2013), mid-term (2014), and long-term (2015 and beyond) time frames, as well as spatially along East and West Colorado Avenue.
Mid-term and long-term proposals include the installation of more permanent chicanes as well as raised crosswalks and speed bumps at strategic intersections throughout town, all designed to slow down traffic and make things safer for pedestrians.
As presented, the total cost of implementation would be $150,000, with $10,500 of that spent in 2013.
Telluride resident Kris Johnson issued a plea for council to consider fast-tracking a proposal to build at least one and preferably two raised sidewalks across West Colorado Avenue near the elementary school. The sidewalks need to be built as soon as possible, she said – ideally in 2013.
“I worry about small children and teenagers getting killed at Davis,” she said. “It is the most dangerous intersection in town.”
If built this summer, the raised sidewalks would represent an unbudgeted expenditure, costing $22,000 apiece.
“Part of this exercise is prioritizing,” Town Manager Greg Clifton reminded council.
“I think we can meet the needs that have been expressed here; there is something to be gained from looking at a crosswalk on West Colorado sooner rather than later.”
Council tasked town staff with bringing back a recommendation regarding the pricing and timing of such a move.
“‘Town Government 101’ is the safety of the citizens,” observed councilor Brady.
Council will revisit the matter of the raised sidewalks later this month and perhaps take action on it, after seeing a breakdown of costs.
CONCERN MOUNTS OVER FREE BOX
Telluride resident Deb Gesmundo voiced concern to the Telluride Town Council at its most recent meeting about one of the town’s most revered institutions – the Free Box.
“I have been an avid lover and user of the Free Box for easily 20 years and in my opinion the purpose is to recycle or reuse and reduce waste,” she said.
However, Gesmundo asserted, the current method of stewardship is not meeting this vision. In short, in order to keep the Free Box from overflowing, volunteers are in the habit of occasionally cleaning it out and taking everything to the landfill.
Councilor Chris Myers echoed Gesmundo’s concern, stating that “we need to be careful about what we put in and when we put it in. If you come by and the Free Box is overflowing, it is not the right time to drop off your things. Leave it in your car and bring it back another time.”
Myers said that he himself had lately taken the time to sort through 10 bags’ worth of Free Box overflow. “Two bags out of 10 were pure rags – torn, stained, unclean and not worthy of salvage,” he said. Another eight bags were sorted, folded and taken to charitable organizations.
“There are some great things happening at the Free Box,” Myers concluded, “But maybe they could be done better.”
Clifton commended those who now volunteer their time to maintain the Free Box (it used to be a chore relegated to town staff), and suggested that a work session with this group might be in order, “to give us an update for how the Free Box is actually functioning. Is stuff going to the landfill, or is the Free Box fulfilling its intended role?”
Councilor Bob Saunders agreed. “It’s incumbent on people to drop off things that somebody else can use and not drop stuff on sidewalk,” he added. “People need to be considerate of this institution and its fragility; it could go away if we don’t respect the purpose and rules of Free Box.”
VENDING ORDINANCE AMENDMENT
Council approved on third reading an amendment to a subsection of the town’s vending ordinance pertaining to the Spruce Street Mall area. The amendment raises the number of vendors permitted to operate in the area from two to three, in order to allow an organic produce vendor to operate there one day per week this summer. More comprehensive changes to the ordinance subsection may be undertaken next fall or winter, after seeing how well the amended ordinance works in implementation.
CLIMATE ACTION PLATFORM
Council agreed to hold a work session at its meeting next week to discuss formulating a Climate Action Platform for the Town of Telluride, in response to MountainFilm’s theme of climate change this year.