Friday letters: Wolves, traffic, transit

Wolf fear-mongering

Here we go again. Mitch Mulhall’s recent column (1/13/23) regarding the restoration of wolves in western Colorado is fear-mongering hog-wash.

If you want to protect your pets, the solution is simple: Keep them on a leash and be aware of your surroundings. An agitated moose will stomp your dog to death without a second thought.

Wolves consider loose dogs to be territorial rivals, so conflicts aren’t the wolves’ fault, they are on you. Yet, somehow, the culture-war says we should destroy wolves and spare the moose. Get real! Exactly how many leashed dogs do wolves attack, anyhow?

Does anyone think for a second if a pack of human-killing wolves was on the loose — anywhere in the world — that we wouldn’t know about it? That some government agency wouldn’t have killed them off? Bears kill people. Mountain lions attack lone joggers. We routinely avenge any human killed by another animal. Are we to really fear that wolves will run amok without consequences?

Do you actually fear losing a child to wolves? The solution to that fear is to drive your kids to school. Just remember, they are much more likely to die in a car crash than get killed by wolves while waiting for the bus. Why? Because, there has never been a child killed by wolves while waiting for the bus.

Mr. Mulhal, sir, you are no longer a child. The myths and fairy-tales about wolves that continue to haunt you are not true. Little Red Riding Hood lied.

The impending restoration of wolves to the hunting grounds of their ancestors will be a splendid success, providing ecological balance to our elk and deer herds.

Sure, restoring wolves will mean that livestock growers will have to do things differently to avoid conflict with wolves — that’s stewardship. Fortunately, a citizen-led body has helped to create a toolbox of non-lethal deterrents and reasonable compensation.

The best thing you can do right now is read the draft plan that Colorado Parks and Wildlife just released. It’s 293 pages long, but you might learn something. If you disagree, or agree, then send comments to the agency. That’s citizenship.

Tom Zieber, Gunnison

Revisit the bypass option

Glenwood Springs needs a real bypass. No amount of speed control on Grand Avenue will prevent rush hour gridlock within 10 to 20 years. 

When traffic backs up on I-70 at Exit 116 every morning and to the Buffalo Valley signal every evening, CDOT will act by changing stoplight timing, removing stoplights and left-turn only lanes and increasing speed limits. 

There is an option.

The city’s 2007 “SH82 Corridor Optimization Study” identified a four-lane bypass alignment called the “East River Corridor.” The alignment follows the railroad right-of-way from a re-constructed Exit 116 to the existing four-lane State Highway 82 near Walmart. There would be signalized intersections at Eighth Street and somewhere near 27th Street and a full interchange at 14th Street. Of the 22 alternatives considered in the study, the “East River Corridor” was the only one that provided regional connectivity and reduced local congestion. The bypass would eliminate all State Highway 82 traffic from Grand Avenue.

A project of this size requires 10- to 20-year of commitment, planning, funding and construction. The bypass would require long-term support from both current and future Glenwood residents and city councils. If there is no new development in the “corridor,” the four-lane bypass remains an option that will become increasingly attractive as traffic volumes increase with the valley population.

Citizen input for the newly released “2023 Comprehensive Plan” is requested. It is highly unlikely that the “East River Corridor” alternative will be included in the plan. The very first step in reducing Grand Avenue traffic is public awareness that there is an option for a true bypass. It is time to have the discussion.

Charles R. Peterson, Glenwood Springs

An E-transit future

If I were on the Glenwood Springs City Council I’d propose putting a half penny sales tax question on the next ballot for transportation infrastructure and equipment. 

Aspen has a penny sales tax for Roaring Fork Transportation Agency bus services. All of the buses are free and tourists pay a lot more than locals and I get a $50 dollar check from the city every year to soften expenses at City Market.

If the above doesn’t work I’d propose putting a municipal bond question on the ballot for free city bus services.

Make the hard decisions for a better city and buy electric buses. Yes, they are initially more expensive, but with a small fraction of lifecycle maintenance and fuel costs they are less expensive than fossil fuel buses in the long run.

The future of transportation is electric. May we all breathe clean air downtown.

Tom Mooney, Aspen

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