Truck brake use is less than jake
I applaud the decision and course of action by the Glenwood Springs City council and police chief as outlined in the front-page story in the Post Independent on Thursday, Dec. 12, `That’s the ticket! City to crack down on traffic violators.’ I’m sure there will be many unhappy (and probably vocal) people affected, but many more citizens and visitors will be pleased by their intent to step-up enforcement and make `the city a safer and more enjoyable place to live.’
For a number of years there has been another concern that has not been adequately addressed that could/should fall under this `crack down,’ and that is the use of engine or `Jake’ brakes in our city limits. I was awakened just after seven this Sunday morning by a trucker using loud engine brakes on Grand Avenue. This is in winter with our windows closed. I know that in warmer weather with windows opened and increased construction traffic many, many people are affected and unhappy. There is no reason for large diesel trucks to use engine braking in town other than saving wear and tear on their mechanical brakes and the `macho’ factor … size and noise matters?!?
There has been in place for a number of years an ordinance prohibiting use of engine brakes in Glenwood Springs. CDOT has not allowed adequate signage on Highway 82 and Interstate 70 that would give `proper notice’ to truckers causing a `stalemate’ where our law enforcement officers are reluctant to and will not enforce this section. I’m sure there are many obscure sections of the law that aren’t of common knowledge that are still prosecutable. If necessary, I offer to sign a complaint to `force the issue’ and `see where the chips may fall.’
There has been discussion of this issue for many years, but no resolution. I encourage the city and CDOT to `bite the bullet’ and put up three `Use of Engine Brakes Prohibited’ signs at the city limits on I-70 and south on Highway 82. These are commonly seen in other communities located on interstates or state highways. Why can’t we have ours so we can enforce the law on our books?
As an aside related to Grand Avenue/Highway 82, with the upcoming rebuilding in 2004, I encourage our city leaders and staff to pursue a safe east-west pedestrian crossing at Sayre Park. A few years ago our Parks and Recreation Commission held a neighborhood meeting at the park, and this was a major concern/desire of those in attendance. Also on the list was a four-way stop at Blake Avenue and North Hyland Park Drive. One should be easily achievable, the other will require CDOT’s cooperation. Pedestrian and bicyclist safety are important components in providing transportation alternatives that can help relieve the congestion and `higher volume of traffic than the infrastructure can handle.’
I know that slowing people down and making traffic enforcement stops may be in conflict with allowing traffic to smoothly and quickly get through town. Many of our efforts have been and are to make it quick and convenient to drive through our city, but at what cost from both a financial and livability standpoint? I’m thankful of the intent to moderate the impacts on the citizens and traveling public. It will be a challenge to educate and seek the compliance of drivers and pedestrians.
I appreciate the continued efforts by all to make Glenwood Springs a better, safer, and quieter place for all those who live and visit here.
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Visual Journalist Chelsea Self can be reached at 970-384-9108 or email@example.com