Move over, cars: Bikes getting their own lane in downtown Aspen

The main road in the center of Aspen will undergo major changes next week or so with a special bike lane running along Galena Street and Cooper Avenue.

By the end of the month, a “living laboratory” will be installed on South Galena Street from Main Street to Cooper Avenue and Cooper Avenue to Hunter Street, which will remain until September.

City officials said they would use the time to temporarily test the project and make modifications before any ongoing safety and design improvements.

The changes are on the instructions of the Aspen City Council, which earlier this year decided to modify the road to improve the safety of pedestrians and motorcyclists by giving them a special lane for slowing down and slowing down.

The experiment will eliminate the left turn from Galena Street to Hyman Avenue.

It will also include parallel parking spaces for better visibility, a bike lane protected from backflow to minimize the potential for unpredictable car-cyclist interactions, and extensions of curbs at intersections that shorten walking distances. pedestrians.

“Aspen’s engineering department is working with businesses in this area to address all concerns and determine how to make the area even safer,” said Pete Rice, manager of the city’s engineering department. “This living laboratory is the culmination of best practices in research, work and engineering.”

The new parking configuration affects 44 of the 86 spaces in the corridor.

The city plans to mitigate the loss of these spaces by reclassifying 47 parking spaces, either currently in the commercial central area or near the core boundary, from residential to commercial.

Business owners in the area have expressed concern to city officials during the planning process over the past year about the loss of parking spaces and what they perceive as social engineering in the city center.

City officials said the data would be collected at four intersections on a three-block section over a 12-week period.

A work team will also gather information from residents and business owners, conduct sidewalk surveys and conduct monthly pop-up events during the lab.

A survey will be available online in August to ask users to share their experiences and observations.

Rice said his department plans to implement the changes on June 27, given that all parts are in place.

“It’s really hard to find artists right now,” he said. “I want to make sure it’s done right and all at once.”