Elk Avenue to stay one-way into fall

Snow a problem? Maybe…

by Mark Reaman

The Crested Butte Town Council feels the reconfiguration of Elk Avenue to a single-lane one-way thoroughfare has been successful this summer in helping the vibrancy of the main business district, so they voted unanimously to keep the current configuration in place until October 15. 

Town planner Mel Yemma updated the council on the Elk Avenue situation at the August 4 meeting. She said town and county health officials conducted a recent “walk-through” of the area and “We saw incredible compliance by the local businesses. Restaurants were doing great with their commitment to the public health orders.” 

In a recent survey of impacted businesses, Yemma reported that 77 percent of the respondents said the Elk Avenue reconfiguration was meeting or exceeding expectations. She said that while about a quarter of the businesses were willing to return Elk Avenue to normal two-lane traffic sooner than September 1, the majority indicated they would like to see the new look extended into the fall. “The staff is recommending going until October 15,” she said. That is the date when sidewalk seating permits expire for the summer.

“The concern with the middle of October is that it gets too cold to use the spaces in the evening,” said councilman Chris Haver. “Will it look like it did when we first started? It looks a lot better now.”

“I am fine with October 15,” said Crested Butte mayor Jim Schmidt. “It used to be that it was possible we would get snow by then but with climate change, that doesn’t seem to be happening as often.”

“If we jinx ourselves and get a bunch of snow, it would be worth it,” quipped council member Will Dujardin. 

With no comment on the issue from the public, the council voted unanimously to extend the reconfiguration of Elk Ave. until October 15.

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