Editorial: Join in bridge solutions — you’re not special
July 9, 2017
Five weeks from today, the Grand Avenue bridge closes, creating an unprecedented transportation challenge for the region. Every one of us — from Parachute to Aspen and any visitors — will be affected. Every one of us has an obligation to try to take pressure off of traffic in Glenwood Springs.
Here's a mantra to remember: Unless you have emergency lights on top of your vehicle, you're not special.
First, each of us — every individual and every employer — needs a plan to do our part to reduce traffic on the detour from Interstate 70 Exit 114 in West Glenwood, along Midland Avenue and Eighth Street to Grand. And we need to think of ways to stay off Grand.
Bicycling, parking on the north side of the river, walking across and shuttling, carpooling, different hours and telecommuting are all options.
When we are on the detour route or I-70, it's important that we fall in line, follow the detour, don't try to zip ahead, cut in or ignore signs and lane markings. You'll just make things worse — and you could imperil lives. You're not special.
Changing habits and seeking ways to reduce how much you must drive on Colorado 82/Grand Avenue is not just a matter of your convenience and comfort. At just the wrong moment, it could be a public safety issue.
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People having babies, cardiac incidents, traumatic injury and other medical issues must be able to get to hospitals. Emergency responders have plans in place, but a few people — maybe even just one person — being selfish and impatient could throw a life-threatening wrench into the works.
For example, traffic on Interstate 70 from the west will be funneled into the right lane well before Exit 114 in West Glenwood. If jerks insist on driving to the front of the queue and trying to cut in, they will block the left lane. That will keep through traffic, buses and emergency vehicles from going on to Exit 116, which will continue to provide access to the north side of the Colorado River and will be a staging area for critical transportation efforts.
Don't be that person. You're not special.
These will be trying times. Being patient and helpful — working to practice the Golden Rule and small-town virtues — might be the best way to weather the likely frustration. Your hurry is no more important or frustrating than anyone else's.
Doctors tasked with saving lives have plans for using electric bicycles at times. If they can do that, you can figure out a way to reduce your impact.
Police will be on bicycles in many cases. Many children will be dropped off and walked the final stretch to school to reduce bus traffic. Glenwood City Hall is going to a four-day schedule, closed Fridays and open 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Thursday during the bridge closure.
Friendliness and empathy will be important on the streets and toward pedestrians. Trail etiquette will be more important with more people biking and using trails to get around town. Some won't be experienced in using trails.
Regarding trail etiquette: Stay to the right as much as possible. Don't let your group take up the whole width of the trail. With more users, ditch the headphones so you can hear. Announce when you are passing. Bike riders aren't special. Even experienced riders and bike commuters need to slow down and follow all rules and traffic signs.
Great resources are available.
The Colorado Department of Transportation's web page on the bridge has information on the latest aspects of the project, a hotline and a link to sign up for updates.
The Glenwood Springs Chamber Resort Association offers tips for getting around town.
Postindependent,com/bridge has an archive of our coverage and in the coming weeks will include an interactive map with suggestions about how to get from Point A to Point B during the detour.
Everyone needs a plan. And we are all in it together.
Unless it's an act of epic kindness or problem-solving, we also hope that you don't end up as a news item during this process. That's probably the last way you want to be special.