Letter: Don’t build a bypass — reduce traffic
It is time to stop the runaway and foolhardy obsession with an imaginary bypass in Glenwood Springs.
It is time to instead focus our expertise, sense of place, good will and creativity on actually reducing traffic volume, rather than spreading more of it around.
Even if this community and region could even conceivably secure the billion (with a b) dollars for such a project, and even if a route were available that did not destroy unique natural features and debilitate established neighborhoods, a traffic bypass would be the wrong thing to do — it would not work.
This tired old bypass idea seems to center on the inaccurate and impossible presumption that a bypass would relieve traffic on Grand Avenue. Starting with the long-ago classic work of urban designer Ian McHarg, and repeatedly affirmed in practical experiences since, we know that traffic will always expand to fill the capacity provided.
Building a second highway through Glenwood Springs would just result in two noisy, intrusive highways bisecting this uniquely narrow and integrated town. Grand Avenue would end up just as congested as it is now, compounded by a twin traffic slog just blocks away.
Much wiser, and practical, to put our collective efforts and money into: increasing transportation efficiency; turning away unnecessary, redundant and improperly sized vehicles; and becoming a beacon example of a community that preserves its small-town values.
Much better to preserve and fulfill our self-sense and image as a wonderful place to live and visit than to become “Glenwood Springs, a Great Place to Drive Through.”
A few initial ideas: Consolidate freight loads and deliveries; eliminate partial-load semi-trucks; adjust timing for deliveries; boost car-pooling services; increase neighborly ride-shares to schools; boost public transit; nurture a culture of local travel without cars; aggressively enforce speed limits; control exhaust noise; add traffic-calming installations.
The creativity and imagination abundant in this community and valley can readily expand and refine this list, transforming our public discussion of traffic and livability into making real changes and improvements, rather than just chasing more concrete and pavement.
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