Reader views on the Grand Avenue bridge and more
Editor’s note: Today, you, the readers provide the commentary for this page, except for the editorial cartoon, which is included to provide visual relief.
Aspen and Snowmass should pay
The Grand Avenue bridge is understandably a sore subject. I have concluded that the bridge must be replaced, while I understand and agree there is a need for a bypass to remove semis from town. There is no question that the bridge is marginal and no way will it serve the needs of Glenwood for the next 50 years. The engineers and planners have included everyone in on the planning, design and studies and have done so for years. The cost is massive but will only get more expensive each passing year. The funding is present and adequate. The design is exceptional.
The town has benefited greatly for years from the incredible design and construction of Glenwood Canyon. The bridge is simply the last great step. The immediate economic benefit as well as sustained benefits will be great. I hope that this will be incredible entrance to town for walkers, bikers and cars.
As for a bypass, everybody wants a magical bypass that will solve all of life’s problems. Tell us where it will start. Tell us where it will end. Tell us how it will it be funded. Let the chuckles start when they tell you we will have a major highway in front of the elementary school and behind. Wow — talk about convenience. Get those darn kids out of my way cause I coming through at 75 mph.
Glenwood, let’s focus on the bridge and make it the best entrance possible. It is our problem that we created and need to resolve. Keep the cars and people coming into town to support all business. Require a toll on heavy trucks and equipment travelling upvalley to pay for these impacts. Force Aspen and Snowmass to resolve the bypass issue. Force them to get a for-profit heavy toll bypass from Gypsum to Highway 82 and make it mandatory for all heavy traffic to be routed that direction. Aspen and Snowmass have had a free pass on our problem for years. They were probably laughing while they threw us a few crumbs to help with the bridge.
Solution to traffic: Take the bus
Picture yourself on your way home from work. For me that means driving Highway 82. I sit through the light the first time, I get impatient. Second time missing the light, I’m wondering where all these cars came from and where they are going. The third time I sit through the light my good mood and hopes of getting home in time for a bike ride are gone.
This has become a daily occurrence, and the bridge construction hasn’t even begun. As a resident of Glenwood working in Carbondale I feel the bridge project is a regional issue. But is it only part of a bigger picture? Reading current headlines: traffic increasing, record cars, numbers rising, I can’t imagine more cars on the road. More congestion, pollution and noise up and down our valley with nowhere to go. Solutions are offered; build a bypass, where will it go, tunnel through the mountains, where will we get the funds?
There is one practical solution already in the lane next to me — public transportation. To the average commuter, buses have a bad reputation. It’s inconvenient, unreliable and Americans love the freedom of cars. Yet, sitting here at a complete stop in traffic, I don’t feel free. Being asked to pay $15 million for a bridge that doesn’t relieve the number of cars currently on the road, let alone what’s to come. I don’t see it as the best option. Utilizing public transportation reduces traffic, allowing us to move more efficiently and affordably.
If we implement proven transit priority methods, making it faster, more reliable and convenient, we could sit at a patio cafe on Grand Avenue without yelling above the noise. Tourists could navigate Sixth Street safely. Local businesses and stores would benefit from increased pedestrian traffic.
Let’s be proactive and use the collaborative process already in place for the new bridge project as an opportunity to re-evaluate and reinvest in our community. Creative solutions can help our already great RFTA system adapt to our lifestyle to build a system that not only addresses current issues but the future of our community.
Don’t be a pushover, Glenwood
Glenwood Springs is getting a bridge shoved down its throat, literally and figuratively. The proposed new bridge will only worsen the traffic on Grand Avenue. Much of the day it’s a slowly moving parking lot, except all the motors are running.
Ed Rosenberg’s recent and thoughtful op-ed caused me to look at the Glenwood map. There are now three bridges. The middle bridge at Devereux Road is little used, mainly because it is not yet well connected on the west side of the river; nor does it connect to Interstate 70. But it could be; and/or it could be rebuilt.
It’s been said a million times, but a quick look at the map makes the solution glaringly obvious. The least-developed north-to-south route for a new connection between the Roaring Fork Valley and I-70 lies on the old D&RGW right of way. Midland Avenue is fine for a secondary road. Grand Avenue is fine for local and some pass-through traffic. The real solution lies in the middle.
One of the big advantages of a middle route is that everything else remains the same until it’s built. Once a new connection is built, repairs or replacement of the Grand Avenue Bridge could be relatively painless; and much cheaper.
Obviously, a lot of time and engineering effort is invested in the existing concept. That is nothing compared to the cost of the currently proposed bridge. And no one knows how much that will really cost. Engineers get paid to design; let them keep on designing, but in a better place.
Remember what started this current round of design: CDOT wants to replace the Grand Avenue bridge. But that does nothing to solve the “central” problem of Glenwood Springs: traffic — and increasing traffic — right through the middle of the city. CDOT is only taking the path of least resistance to achieve its own short-term goals.
Obviously, the current connection of Highway 82 to I-70 is poor. Just compare that to the West Glenwood access. That comes of having I-70 jammed up against the river. A middle option could provide a new more effective interchange.
Finally, just guessing, but isn’t the bulk of traffic through Glenwood to and from the communities west of Glenwood? Or, to and from the Meadows shopping center? A middle connection could make that traffic much more convenient.
Historically, it seems, Glenwood Springs has perhaps not been assertive enough with the state and federal authorities. Glenwood Springs and the Roaring Fork Valley are clearly the happening thing in this neck of Colorado and the Rockies. Don’t be a pushover.
WSCOGA practices shunning to disempower
The West Slope Colorado Oil and Gas Association would like the Thompson Divide and all its supporting members and groups to disappear. The tactic outlined in the Sept. 17 article in the Post Independent is akin to the ancient practice of shunning whereby you deny the existence of a person or group that you see as a threat. This old bullying tactic seeks to isolate and disempower those targeted.
The Thompson Divide Coalition and all the supporting individuals, groups, businesses, ranchers, water users, recreationists and appreciators are not about to disappear and the Thompson Divide Area is here to stay. David Ludlam of WSCOGA was correct on one account in that protecting the TD area is the priority of a lot of groups. The Thompson Divide Coalition has built a very strong valley contingency over the past six years and will continue to work to protect the federal lands of the Thompson Divide Area from oil and gas development. It seeks to work with the oil and gas lease holders and political representatives to secure protection of this unique, unpolluted and economically sustaining area.
The Thompson Divide area is special in that it is a ‘“chockstone” area connecting the wildlife migration corridors between the West Elk mountains, the Flattops and Grand Mesa. The TD is headwaters to 15 high-quality watersheds that support agriculture and urban needs as well as downstream uses. The TDC campaign has only strengthened the appreciation for this beautiful and productive area. Let’s just keep it as it is.
Enjoy those beautiful fall colors going off in the Thompson Divide Area right now.
Hey, boss, could I stay with you?
After reading a lot of letters lately about the proposed bridge replacements, I’ve come to a couple of conclusions;
One, if that misbegotten monster gets built I’m going to ask my boss if I can move into his upvalley basement for the construction duration.
Two, widening that perfectly serviceable and maintainable bridge will increase car and especially truck traffic through the heart of Glenwood.
Build it and they will come. Aspen can discourage traffic and we need a bridge to facilitate it?
And to those whining ninnies who claim great fear while driving on our Grand bridge, I say take some driving lessons and get you eyesight checked.
How sick and twisted is Hickenlooper?
Its rather odd that Hickenlooper has funny and cute TV ads paid for by Obama and $10 million, and on Facebook, he is threatening to turn loose convicted killers if he doesn’t get elected again. Does that mean he is going to turn loose every criminal in our jails? Does that mean he has the right to endanger the lives of every man, woman and child by letting Nathan Dunlap out of prison or commuting his sentence after killing those people?
How sick and twisted is Hickenlooper? Hickenlooper threw away 33,000 petitions into the trash that came from the Western Slope because of his anti-gun stance. Another Obama tactic, he has allowed thousands of illegals to be on unemployment for three years until he was caught doing that. He has defied the immigration laws that are still laws in this country and in the state. Nothing has changed on the old law. It’s still against the law to hire an illegal. Illegal is still illegal. Nothing has changed.
As you know Hickey is allowing illegals to have a special driver’s license. Why? They can’t be used for identification, voting and or public benefits. However, the contractor’s Computer software problem (you guessed it) sent 524 regular licenses out. Don’t you just hate it when you have a software problem, like the federal government? Now the contractor is asking them to be returned. What a load of crap, Hickey. This wasn’t an accident. This is what Hickey was going to do all along,
A bloodbath over the crumbs remaining
Eric Weidmann’s letter (Sept. 24) hits the nail right on the head. He must be a carpenter or something. Certainly not a modern journalist or a politician, whose bending of the truth guarantees a paycheck. Eric is right about present Middle East hostilities’ origins. In the divide to conquer business (as usual) model used by the Great Powers when resources forbade all-out conquest and colonization, back when power was “great” and not as insufficient to task as the hubris of the world’s sole “superpower” that technically has actually only won a war in Grenada, since becoming a Superpower – the other collapsing from internal problems and all these Middle East wars fragments of the continuing whole.
To further educate politician and media divas, this is why everything short of all-out conquest is doomed to morphing into more belligerent fractions bent on freeing themselves from Western overlords and their puppet dictators — whomever they be — each time Western interests leave power to the vacuum, after the business of oil has been secured. Because much of oil profits depend on keeping others resources in the ground. Thus the continuance of divide and conquer until someone with the resources, like the Americans (ignorant of the feudal game they’ve only recently joined) will ultimately have to keep boots on the ground, to secure petrochemical-based economies’ (with their munitions-based economy) need to stay afloat. Superpowers come and go, only empires can outlast the death and devastation they cause others to cause.
Although Eric is wrong about the chicanery of the Sikes-Picot Treaty being the greatest single reason for violence because the Great Powers wouldn’t have divided the region if not for the internal combustion engine and the grand weaponry it unleashed into the markets of death and destruction, giving us the question does internal combustion kill people or do Great (super) Powers?
It remains ignorant, self-deluded arrogance that possesses no courage to take the responsibility required to conquer centuries of similar dealings who’ll insist violence secure our fortunes and thus lend bloodbath dimensions to struggles for the crumbs left.
Another supporter for a vote on bridge
I among many others would like to have signed the letter on the Highway 82-Glenwood Springs bypass signed by 12 people, Indeed, for a regional consensus, put the question of a bypass to a vote by the people of the four counties: Garfield, Pitkin, Eagle, and Gunnison.
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