Wheat Ridge

Citizens demand a vote on 38th

Hugh Johnson

Residents fed up with the way city officials are handling the 38th Avenue corridor project spoke up during citizen’s discussion at the March 24 meeting, asking council to bring the issue of the 38th avenue road diet to a vote in November.

While the focus was primarily on the road diet, which in 2012 reduced 38th Avenue from five lanes to three lanes, some residents called for a halt on all matters related to 38th until the issue could be brought to the ballot.Critics say the diet has caused an increase in traffic on 38th and during peak hours it’s nigh impossible to merge onto the road or it takes forever to make a simple left turn.

“Please do not spend any more money on this project without taking it to a vote of the people. It is our money, and we do need a voice,” Wheat Ridge resident Kathy Tolman said.

Wheat Ridge’s Vivian Vos read a survey into the record with nine questions about 38th. According to Vos, 91 percent of the 318 people surveyed lived in Wheat Ridge. Vos said that 54 percent strongly disagreed with the two-lane road diet. She read the answers to the other questions of the survey, indicating that people were in opposition to some of 38th’s amenities and the amount of money council has spent of the project.

Some residents claimed the corridor’s renovation is vital to attracting a younger demographic which the city desperately needs.

“Definitely put it to the voters … but I feel as though the new level of age that’s moving into Wheat Ridge is going to exponentially grow and flourish,” said Wheat Ridge’s Matthew Lillie.

Jerry Nealon, president of Cress Kitchen and Bath on 38th, referenced other neighborhoods that have used a road diet to their advantage.

“I guess Tennyson Street is wrong, I guess Highlands Square is wrong, I guess Arvada is wrong, city of Golden is wrong. It’s trying to calm traffic to attract outdoor cafes and businesses and the type of people that we want to see and to support people that are moving into this community, the younger families,” Nealon said.

The discussion lasted around 30 minutes.