How about Highway 82 for big box location? |

How about Highway 82 for big box location?

Dear Editor,

Like so many other small towns across the country, Carbondale finds itself caught in the unenviable position of dealing with growth. Many citizens see a great opportunity for strong financial gains; other folks find themselves pushed out, unable to compete. Some people feel strongly that increased conveniences and upgraded services are important and necessary. Others wish for a return to a simpler, less hectic life. Crystallizing this conflict is a development proposal to bring a large amount of new commercial space into the town. There is talk of one or more “Big Box” retail stores.

Again, many Carbondaleans, along with people that live on the town’s outskirts, are excited and are extending a welcome. But others see the Big Box as a death knell for existing small business and a generator of massive traffic and congestion. Either way you see this issue, I think it is time to think “out of the box.” Here is why.

Big Box stores do not produce great amounts of traffic accidentally. They must have traffic. No traffic, no store. But, it may not be possible to get ENOUGH traffic in and out of town. We can already see the hassle with Carbondale’s “rush hour” every afternoon. (Can you believe the concept of “rush hour” in Carbondale?) The town is now engaged in a plan to spend some $10 million on improvements to the intersection of Highways 133 and 82. The state has said they would have no money for improvements for some 20 years. Unfortunately, $10 million does not even buy the permanent fix. For an intersection like West Glenwood’s on Interstate 70, you can double the price. Or more! Conclusion: Highway 133 is the wrong highway for a Big Box.

Instead, the Big Box should be on Highway 82. Carbondale should do what Basalt so cleverly did. City Market built a big store in El Jebel, and Basalt annexed it. Put the Big Box out on Highway 82 and let Carbondale annex it. There is space available. Aspen Glen owns an undeveloped piece of land across Highway 82 from the housing subdivision. Stick the big sucker(s) out there on the existing four-lane highway. Let us have our cake and eat it, too, and keep those millions of cars out of town.

Patrick Hunter


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