After first suggesting curb extenders to improve safety for pedestrians crossing Bridge Street, the Town of Hotchkiss and the Downtown Improvement Committee are considering an alternative plan.
Mike Owens, public works director, suggested the town and committee consider planters as used in Crested Butte.
The 4 foot by 8 foot planters would be placed in the yellow no parking areas on Bridge Street. According to committee member Tom Wills, they would not interfere with traffic lanes.
Wills explained to the Delta County Independent, "The planters will, if built and placed as proposed, increase street safety in several ways. 1. Allow pedestrians to proceed to the edge of the traffic lane where visibility for both them and drivers is better. 2. Prevent cars from using the no-parking area as a lane, parking space, or to 'cut the corner' as happens frequently at the Post Office corner, endangering pedestrians. 3. Make the street appear to narrow visually, something that should cause traffic to slow generally.
"And of course the planters full of flowers will make the downtown prettier. If built with locally made mine timbers they could also honor our history with that industry."
The planters would be movable with a forklift. They would be put out in spring and removed during winter so as not to interfere with snow removal.
Also, smaller planters with seating are proposed on the sidewalk toward the center of the block.
Mary Hockenbery, committee chair, suggested flowers on Bridge Street next year should contain a lot of red and white blooms to match Hotchkiss "Bulldog Pride" colors.
This year Hockenbery and her crew used one five-gallon jug to water the Bridge Street planters. She's suggesting for next year a water tank in a pickup so the watering can be done more efficiently.
Other ideas being considered by the committee include several new murals on buildings and even some mini-murals.
Nathan Sponseller, president of the Hotchkiss Chamber of Commerce, said there is a preliminary plan for having benches on the sidewalk in front of the First State Bank drive-up next to the West Elk Inn and another bench and more trees on the bank's lawn. "This would create a shady, inviting, mid-block mini-park. A sculpture mount on the lawn may also be possible," Wills wrote in the committee minutes for Sept. 6.blog comments powered by Disqus