Aspen officials want public opinion on pedestrian and bicycle safety



Aspen city officials want the public to speak out on an ongoing plan to improve downtown safety and mobility for pedestrians and cyclists.

A presentation by the city’s engineering department to Aspen City Council is scheduled for August 23 and will include the results of a survey that can be found on the city government’s website,

The council discussed downtown safety in June and asked for public comment before moving forward with a path to improve pedestrian and cyclist mobility.

“In that meeting, the main thing was, ‘How do we do it? How to make it more secure? What are the step-by-step steps that we can take to make this community more secure within the core? ‘ Said Pete Rice, division director in the city’s engineering department. “This survey is just to get a feel for the current state of community values.”

One step in the plan is to make Hyman Avenue between Galena and Hunter streets one-way so that motorists can no longer turn left from Galena.

“What is happening is people look to the left when they turn left on Hyman, and they don’t necessarily see the pedestrians coming out of the mall,” Rice said, adding that the idea will be. presented to the board during a work. session later this month.

He said city officials have met with members of the business community, who agree that there is a safety issue at the intersection, as well as other places in the city center.

This specific intersection was where a 5-year-old girl was killed by a motorist in 2020 as she was crossing the street with her family.

Recognizing that bicycles are disconnected from the city center and not housed on many streets, Galena may have dedicated cycle lanes as part of the gradual changes underway.

If the board accepts the concept, the changes will take place next spring.

Other changes, such as moving parking spaces in parallel instead of at an angle, installing more bike lanes and providing more public spaces for restaurants are also being considered.

But nothing will be done all at once, said city engineer Trish Aragon, noting that the change to Hyman Avenue is one aspect of a larger mobility and safety plan.

“We want to try this gradually,” she said. “We want the community to try it and test it and see what they think about it, and we’ll get that feedback, and then the board will decide where to take that next.”

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