Reynolds/DeFrates column: Take A Minute
For 1 1/2 miles, Highway 82 is more than just the fast-lane to and from other cities. For 1 1/2 miles, from the Colorado River to the south side of town by Alpine Bank, Highway 82 is still Grand Avenue, a small-town main street at the heart of Glenwood Springs. On either side of the road are schools, a hospital, a grocery store, small businesses, unique boutiques, a veterinary hospital, ice cream shops, parks and homes. Residents walk and ride bikes to their favorite coffee shop meeting on street corners to discuss local happenings. Visitors window-shop, treats in hand, looking for a tasty lunch and mementos of their time in the mountains.
For 1 1/2 miles, life happens all around and across a state highway that bisects a vibrant community.
The Take A Minute campaign is a local, grassroots movement that aims to protect the heart of downtown Glenwood from the mindless rush and frustration so often associated with highway travel all around. Take A Minute is centered around the statistic that drivers who choose to travel at the 25 mph speed limit will arrive on the other side of the town only one minute later than those traveling at 35 mph.
By investing one minute of their day, local drivers positively impact their community in a real, tangible way. Slower speeds significantly reduce noise and emissions in the downtown core. Traveling at 25 mph instead of 35 mph drops the likelihood of a pedestrian fatality from 50 percent to 18 percent. Stopping distance is significantly decreased, and the driver’s ability to safely react to unexpected obstacles increases.
It is easy to doubt that a few determined locals could make a difference against the thousands of vehicles pouring through downtown on their way to somewhere else. These drivers don’t see the homes and businesses they rush past and won’t be swayed by signage. Yet, if just three or four drivers choose to honor this community’s speed limit, they can reduce the pace of travel through that whole section and create a safer and more welcoming environment in our downtown core.
To make a positive change in your community today, you don’t have to write a letter, argue with anyone, or donate money, time or baked goods. All you have to do is embrace the Sunday driver inside you and lay off the gas for 1 1/2 miles.
Take a Minute already has the support of many local residents, businesses and major employers including Valley View Hospital, Alpine Bank and Roaring Fork School District, but the group would welcome all interested parties to the table. The campaign is launching this spring, and if you would like to support it, or would like a “Take A Minute” sign for your street front, you can contact Diane Reynolds at ImagineGlenwood@gmail.com.
Take A minute and see a new business opening. Take A Minute and smile at the human driving the car next to you. Take a minute and soak in the beautiful scenery we sometimes take for granted. Take a minute and save a life. Take a minute and let go of the stress of getting everywhere right now. Take a minute and make your hometown a better place to live.
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