Letter: South Bridge is a bypass
The time is drawing near when you have to cast your vote for the Glenwood Springs City Council candidate of your choice. The field is full of talented and committed people who all seem to have the best interests of our town at heart. My concern is a topic that constantly gets mentioned, but more in passing than in detail — the South Bridge proposal. I believe that the name itself is a misnomer. If the South Bridge is built, Midland Avenue will be the new Glenwood bypass. Regardless of whether you are for or against a bypass, we need to call it what is and be discussing this issue for what it represents and how it will truly affect our lives.
Prior to the 1990s, Glenwood Springs used to have a southern access to Westbank and beyond. An “emergency escape route” for South Glenwood and the Four Mile area actually existed. Unfortunately, our county commissioners at the time forged a deal with the Prehm Ranch, which relinquished our historical easement with nothing in return.
Many of us showed up with our children in tow to protest this loss of access only to be threatened with arrest by our own county sheriff. If I remember correctly, Don “Hooner” Gillespie, currently running for council, was at that protest. If the loss of that right of way was not bad enough, the salt in the wound was that there was absolutely no quid pro quo, i.e. Prehm Ranch for whatever reason gets the right of way but, in case of a community emergency, the gate would open to allow for the safe evacuation of the residents of south Glenwood and the Four Mile area. This never happened. It stunk then and it stinks now.
Fast forward to 2017. We now call the proposed “bypass” the “South Bridge proposal.” For the record, I have friends and acquaintances who favor a bypass, and I respect their opinion. But there are many residents along Midland all the way to the Park East, Park West, Cardiff Glen and not to forget the students, teachers and parents of Sopris Elementary School whose lives will never be the same with the resulting traffic flow that a South Bridge would allow. If you were traveling from Rifle to Aspen or Aspen to Rifle and beyond and could totally avoid Grand, what would you do? You would take the scenic bypass.
Enough said. It’s time to vote. Just make sure you vote for a candidate who will represent your concerns. It’s great to keep promoting Glenwood Springs as a tourist destination, but let’s have some representation on council that respects those of us who simply want to live here in peace.
I would hope that Mr. Essex has this issue on the table at the upcoming Common Ground forum.
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