Last updated 9:46AM ET
December 13, 2017
KSUT Regional
KSUT Regional
Public Views/Votes on Durango Downtown Sidewalk Plans
(2007-11-08)
(ksut) - HOST LEAD: Five proposed makeovers for historic downtown Durango were unveiled last night.
If the sentiment of those attending the event takes hold, it doesn't appear that makeover will be very dramatic.
KSUT's Victor Locke reports.

WALZAK: AND A THIRD PHASE THAT JUST LETS PEDESTRIANS CROSS, AND THEY CAN CROSS THIS WAY OR THIS WAY OR DIAGONALLY, LIKE IN DENVER.
VICTOR: Consultant Keith Walzak spent the evening moving among five different stations set up in the Strater Hotel's Henry Strater Theater.
He was busy answering questions and describing the five sidewalk, streetscape concepts developed by his design team the last several months, under a contract with the city.
Those attending were given colored sticky dots when they entered, to vote on their favorite plans and criteria for downtown.
WILD SOUND: GREENS GO, BLUE'S YOUR SECOND CHOICE, THE RED ARE ALL THE ELEVEN CRITERIA.
Those plans range from leaving sidewalk maintenance and repair up to property owners, almost a do-nothing alternative, to an aggressive rebuild.
WALZAK: ALTERNATIVE E, THE FIFTH ONE, WHICH IS CHANGING THE LANE CONFIGURATION OF MAIN AVENUE WHICH ULTIMATELY GIVES YOU A WIDER SIDEWALK AREA THROUGHOUT THE ENTIRE CORRIDOR.
Under that configuration, Main Avenue would be reduced to three lanes, one a center left turn lane.
In between were alternatives that call for bulb-outs, curbless designs and other efforts.
Walzak fielded a lot of questions about the biggest concern expressed so far: how long would a major rebuild of sidewalks and the street take.
WALZAK: WE'RE GONNA HAVE TO HAVE A REALLY GOOD CONTRACTOR, WE'RE GONNA HAVE TO HAVE INCENTIVES BY THE CITY, WE'RE GONNA HAVE TO HAVE REALLY GOOD COMMUNICATIONS BETWEEN THE DESIGN TEAM AND PROPERTY OWNERS, ALL THOSE VARIABLES WILL AFFECT THE TIME FRAME. STILL YOU'VE GOTTA HAVE A TIMEFRAME. TELLURIDE DID FOUR BLOCKS OF SIDEWALK, FOUR YEARS AGO, FIVE YEARS AGO, THEY DID IT FROM APRIL TO JUNE.
Durango's project will cover seven blocks. Construction would be done in the slow shoulder seasons.
Most of those in the crowd appeared to be downtown businessowners.
Gallery owner Karen Galbadon has been vocal against a major sidewalk rebuild.
She was thrilled with the turnout.
GABALDON: DURANGO HAS AN OPINION, IT'S WONDERFUL. MY FAVORITE PLAN IS TO REPAIR THE SIDEWALKS, CLEAN 'EM, KEEP 'EM CLEAN AND LEAVE THE REST ALONE BECAUSE WE HAVE A BEAUTIFUL DOWNTOWN.
Peter Schertz of Maria's bookstore and Barbara Paeth-Haas, owner of the Durango Kid don't see completely eye to eye.
They were in a corner comparing notes.
BARBARA: AS FAR AS I'M CONCERNED THE SIDEWALKS ARE WIDE ENOUGH, AS THEY ARE THEY'RE VERY SELDOM EVER CROWDED.
PETER: I THINK WE NEED TO COME UP WITH A PLAN THAT'S PEDESTRIAN FRIENDLY AND IT'S ALSO A PLAN THAT WE CAN SURVIVE ANY INTERRUPTION WITH THE CONSTRUCTION. I GIVE THE CITY A WHOLE LOT OF CREDIT FOR BRINGING FORWARD THE IDEA OF DOING SOMETHING WITH OUR SIDEWALKS DOWNTOWN AND GETTING THIS MUCH PUBLIC INPUT. I THINK IT'S A BIG CREDIT TO THE CITY AND THE CITY'S STAFF.
BARBARA: WELL YEAH, AND I APPRECIATE THE OPPORTUNITY OBVIOUSLY FOR ALL THIS INCREDIBLE INPUT, I'M FRANKLY VERY SKEPTICAL ABOUT IT HAVING ANY IMPACT ON THE FINAL DECISION BECAUSE I DON'T THINK, I'M OF THE SUSPICIOUS KIND, THE PARANOID KIND AROUND HERE THAT SAYS THERE'S JUST A FEW PEOPLE WHO MAKE SOME MAJOR DECISIONS.
As the evening wore on, more and more first and second choice colored dots appeared on the first two options, those where property owners or the city would repair or replace sidewalks.
Other popular criteria receiving numerous votes included increasing downtown parking, outdoor seating, bicycle parking, and improving side streets.
Ultimately, it will be up to city council to make the decision on which concept, or concepts move forward.
From KSUT, Four Corners Public Radio, I'm Victor Locke.
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