Have you seen the signs? No, not the political signs. Or the detour signs. Or even the ‘Big Sale Everything Must Go’ signs.
I mean the little green signs. All along Grand Avenue (scientific name, Highway 82), these signs are standing proudly in the front yards of residences, perched in the landscaping islands of beloved local businesses, and tacked up to the walls of banks, markets and gas stations. They kindly and persistently ask tourists and locals alike to ‘Slow Down in Town.’
The best part about these signs? They all agree with each other. The businesses and homes along Highway 82 are united in their belief that we, as a community, must protect our downtown corridor from becoming the fast-lane to somewhere else.
The Slow Down in Town movement, aka Take a Minute, began in 2018 after the Grand Avenue Bridge project stress-tested the traffic flow of Glenwood Springs in the most brutal way imaginable. Motorists began seeking alternate routes through neighborhoods in an attempt to avoid the gridlock on Grand Avenue. More and more people suddenly realized what residents of the main drag have known all along- our quality of life as an entire community is threatened when our town becomes a speedway.
Glenwood Springs is lucky to have so many engaged citizens who have patiently, and consistently been spreading this message. Driving the speed limit through the downtown core of has many benefits, and not just for those who own property with ‘Grand Avenue’ in the address.
Local shop owners, who desperately need our support right now, gain ___ extra seconds of exposure for their storefront. Residents whose home faces Grand Avenue experience reduced noise as engines run quieter without accelerating as much as possible from traffic light to traffic light. Tourist and local families can cross the road to parks or restaurants more safely when a car’s stopping distance is reduced; the difference between traveling at 25 and 35 miles mph is measurable. Even the squirrels will thank you.
For the last several months, through challenges like the pandemic, wildfires, and divisive politics, the message has remained clear: If you want to make the world a better place, begin in your own backyard.
One of the best parts about this grassroots movement, is that it offers us all a way to be better and help others right now. Lay off the gas and cruise the speed limit from eighth street to Alpine Bank, and you will only be giving up one minute of your day. With that decision, which only requires less effort, not more, you will also be respecting the many people whose lives are impacted every day by this traffic. Even if your house doesn’t front the highway, and your neighborhood is an ideal cul-d-sac with no through-traffic, you are helping your community and your neighbors.
The signs all point to one thing. Glenwood Springs still cares about the people who live, work and play here, and unlike the many signs which come and go with the season, these signs are here to stay. Take a minute and look for one on your next journey through town. Once you spot one, think about how you can help.