Why the rush? Our City Council seems unable to resist CDOT's mad dash to make Grand Avenue the next version of I-70. There's a clear difference between creative leadership and taking what you can get now. Taking what you can get now is Mayor Steckler's stated preference.
Recently, the mayor was quoted by the Post Independent as saying that things can only be different if there is a consensus. "Show me the consensus in the community about where to put the bypass, and show me the several hundred million dollars needed to build it," he said. "I don't see how stopping and waiting for consensus on that is a valid approach. We've done that for 60 years." The citizens of Glenwood Springs aren't served by those muddled statements. In fact, we should all be insulted.
Our City Council needs to understand that by hiding behind "consensus" they are abandoning their responsibility not just to those who live here now but our grandchildren and great-grandchildren. By signaling that the Grand Avenue plan is inevitable because citizens of this town can't reach a single consensus that would make it easier to be an elected official is not creative and resolute leadership.
Why can't our council demand a full plan from CDOT for a route that bypasses our historic downtown? Why can't our council set forth a plan that seeks additional dollars to protect our quality of life? It was done once before when I-70 in Glenwood Canyon was designed, so we know that CDOT is capable of such thinking.
What is magic about erecting a wider bridge in two year's time, when the consequences of which will penalize this town and its residents for next 60 years? The mayor may not see the wisdom in stopping and waiting but many do. Again, why the rush?
We have been talking about a bypass for 40 years. When CDOT asked input from residents I drew up a plan and walked the route with my GPS. I went to the meetings and got nowhere showing my idea. I have some friends that I showed my work to, and they really liked what I did. Only one person has said that CDOT has no interest in my idea at all: Joe Elsen.
CDOT's current plan could destroy downtown business and make Grand Avenue even more congested. A lot of the truck traffic is carrying cargo that is dangerous - more traffic creates a greater possibility of accidents.
This is our town, and we should have a say as to its future. We need to do something now to make an attempt to save this city for future generations to enjoy. Our Grand Avenue Bridge was not designed to be a four-lane bridge. It can revert to two lane and meet codes. If the train needs more vertical space, they can drop the track grade a bit where needed. Same with semitruck vertical space: Drop the roadway a foot or so. The Brooklyn Bridge and Golden Gate bridges are a lot older than our bridge, and they are maintained.
Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I will email you my design and idea and a map and letter. I feel that it is time for me to try to get my idea on the table. I do not think that it is a perfect solution, but it is a start, and maybe someone else can use it and come up with a better idea.