Monday letters: Glenwood canyon, quality of life and some kudos for caring locals
Roaring Fork district thanks school resource officers
February 15 is National School Resource Officer (SRO) Appreciation Day, and the Roaring Fork Schools would like to thank our amazing SROs: Alicia Hampton in Glenwood Springs, Paul Lazo in Carbondale, and Jason Hegberg in Basalt. Our SROs not only provide critical support services for our schools, but work hard everyday to foster authentic relationships with our students.
We are fortunate as a school district to have great partnerships with our local law enforcement departments and our three SROs are a big reason why. Their many positive contributions include ensuring physical safety and educating the entire school community on safety topics and needs.
If you see an SRO, please help us thank them for their positive impact on our students, schools, and communities. From all of us in the Roaring Fork Schools, thank you for all you do to support our schools and help keep them safe.
Jesús Rodríguez, Superintendent and Jeff Gatlin, Chief Operating Officer; Carbondale
Glenwood Canyon needs better regulation to decrease crashes, keep our communities safe
I am writing to express my concern about the frequent accidents involving semi trucks in Glenwood Canyon. The safety of drivers on the road is at risk, and immediate action is needed to address the issue.
According to recent statistics and news reports, there have been numerous accidents involving semi trucks in the canyon, causing closures, delays and is an extreme safety concern for drivers. Feb 15, 2023, Jan. 31, 2023, Jan 17, 2023 to mention a few.
The impact on the community has been significant, the number one concern is that the safety of travelers being put at risk. Many locals who live and work between the communities are unable to safely travel through the canyon, or they end up getting stuck for 8-16 hours on one side, unable to either get to work or get home from work. As well, local businesses are experiencing delays on deliveries. I-70 is an interstate highway and more than just locals are affected. Anyone traveling across the state is also greatly impacted.
The community would like to suggest these ideas as options for a solution to this massive problem:
- Chaining up required
- No semis at all allowed through the canyon during a snowstorm.
- Increased enforcement of trucking regulations.
- Law enforcement escort through the canyon at specific scheduled times of day during bad weather.
- Video cameras installed in the canyon which monitor speed and automatically issue tickets of substantial fines to violators.
- Speed control device being required and installed for semi trucks so that they are unable to speed through the canyon.
- Reducing speed limits back to 50mph for non commercial and 35 mph for semi trucks. The speed limit was increased a few years back and there is a direct correlation to the amount of accidents which have occurred since the increase took effect.
- Improved road signage, digital signs that indicate trucks must slow down.
- And other safety measures be taken to reduce the frequency of these accidents.
It is extremely important that immediate action be taken to ensure the safety of all drivers on the road. Some of these suggestions could be implemented immediately, while a long term solution may look differently once all the factors have been accessed.
The community asks that the authorities take immediate action to address this important issue. This is not just a local issue, it’s not even just a state issue, it’s a national issue because it’s causing closure to the I-70 interstate which affects people across the county.
And I am curious to know if these drivers are being held responsible for reckless driving? Are the companies paying it for the many thousands of dollars of damage to the road and the emergency response teams that have to go out there or is it our tax money?
Thank you for your time and attention to this utmost important matter. Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions or need any further information. I am willing to assist in any way that I can to help create change.
Meredith Kasper, Carbondale
Truckers breaking traffic laws should face stiffer penalties
Concerning the semi drivers careless driving in not just Glenwood Canyon, but the entire road system of Colorado, wouldn’t it have some teeth if our state legislators would pass a law with penalties including suspension or revocation of their commercial license for careless or speeding offenses?
Ron Baar, Carbondale
Glenwood Canyon problems need to be fixed — now
About the issue of semi-trucks and the insane number of accidents in Glenwood Canyon of late: it has not been solved.
From the looks of it, nothing has yet changed. Yet another hideous accident and full I-70 closure through the canyon occurred Thursday. It is totally out-of-control and beyond ridiculous. What is being done about it? It needs to change, and NOW. It needed to change yesterday.
Need some ideas? What about police escorts? 2 times/day semi-trucks get escorted by law enforcement through the canyon so they can do it safely, other than that, they don’t go through. What about serious fines for these companies and employees who are causing these accidents, closures, damage to the road, oil spills, and sometimes causing injuries and fatalities?
Need more ideas? Special trainings and certifications for any semi-truck driver who will be driving along the I-70 corridor of Colorado. No semis at all allowed through in a snow storm. Devices attached to the trucks controlling their speed. Chaining up required. Video surveillance and stiff fines and loss of licenses for going too fast. Semi-truck companies paying for any and all costs related to semi-truck accidents.
We community members are furious and fed up and something needs to change immediately. I’ve written to the governor, I’m writing to CDOT, I’m writing to our local officials, and to the editor. Do we need to protest in order to make some changes happen?
Any excuses related to needing to gather more information or too much cost to make changes are unacceptable. This is costing lives, road damage, people are stuck for hours on end, businesses are being affected, people can’t get to necessary medical appointments, environmental damage is caused, and on and on. Seriously, I ask CDOT and our government officials, the semi-truck companies, and their drivers, how many more unnecessary and completely devastating and infuriating accidents need to happen to do things differently? We are furious.
Alana Hanks, Silt
Stiffen penalties for all drivers through Glenwood Canyon
Human suffering from traffic accidents is never joyful. The spate of accidents on I-70 in Glenwood Canyon this winter highlights the pain. Collectively it seems we know something must improve. For what it’s worth, I’ll share a possible solution that came to mind while driving the canyon on a snowy and icy Valentine’s Day.
First, a well-deserved shout-out to the semi-truck drivers that were actually driving the posted 35 mph speed limit on Tuesday. Can’t say as much for the passenger vehicles that passed me doing 50 or 60 mph or more.
Here’s the idea: address human nature by making fines for speeding meaningfully painful. Since its nearly impossible for the State Patrol to pull someone over in the canyon, instead employ photo and radar technology throughout the entire 13 miles. Then make the first offense for more than four mph above the posted speed limit be a sizeable fine, say $500. Second offense $1,500 plus four points off your driver’s license. Third offense, $2,500 and loss of your driver’s license.
I suspect if this idea was implemented it would stop most of the wrecks in the canyon within a week or two. And I’m pretty sure folks like Elon could have it up and running by the end of the month. Sure, I recognize it might take a little longer in the public realm.
The first 20 or 50 people ticketed would be madder than a wet hen. But word would spread really fast that you don’t mess with Glenwood Canyon. Period. End of story.
And maybe the road could stay open, and fewer people would be hurt.
Paul Currier, Rifle
Just. Slow. Down.
Back in 2009 I was leaving Lakeside Arizona to go home to Chandler Arizona in November.
There had been a huge winter storm the day before. Road conditions were terrible. At about Forest Lakes the police slowed us all down to about 10 miles an hour all the way to Payson.
Yes it took a long time to get there but there were no accidents. My point is is that I think traffic through Glenwood Canyon should be slow to at least 40 miles per hour during freezing times and terrible storms.
This would require police presence to make it happen. I truly believe that this is the solution to winter time issues in the canyon.
My sister drives through the canyon often and once a couple months ago at night she was stuck for 5 hours waiting for it to be cleared up so she could come home to Battlement Mesa.
Luckily she’s a very resourceful woman and had everything on hand to make it through the cold weather while waiting. But not everyone does nor should they have to.
Slowing down traffic during these times I think is best solution.
Lucy Del Ferraro, Battlement Mesa
Thanks to a caring local business owner
Hello. Something very special happened to me this week. I had dinner with close friends Tuesday at Native Sun. It was amazing and I met the owner Ricky. We left and yesterday was a snow storm and I never went out. I realized this morning I had accidently left my purse there. Worried all day, I called Natuve Sun and Ricky had my purse safe and would return it to me. It just doesn’t happen these days. Not only is Native Sun a wonderful restaurant, their gift to humanity and caring for people is stronger! Thank you Ricky!
Nancy Peterson, Carbondale
Knowing history helps sustain our quality of life
Mr. Jon Banks is to be commended for his guest opinion column on “quality of life” in the Independent on February 15th. Not many of us live in Glenwood Springs because we like its traffic congestion or unchecked development; we live here because of the quality of life it provides us today as it did for our forebears in the past. The founders of the city came here to make their fortunes; the coal miners came here to make a living; the ranchers and farmers came to start new lives along two rivers. They came for different reasons but they all stayed because of the quality of life they found here.
This search for a better life is at the core of our local history. As a volunteer at the Frontier Museum, I learned that this history is not limited to events that happened years ago, but rather we are living it every day. While helping to collate our genealogy files, I learned that many of the current residents are descendants of those early settlers. Their fascinating stories are the living history of our area. I also helped catalog the photographs and newspaper articles pertaining to the Storm King Fire. The Confluence Park monument dedicated to the brave firefighters that lost their lives is a testament that local citizens wanted them to be remembered today so that they will not be forgotten tomorrow. Another vivid example of very recent living history.
Clearly, history does not refer to the forgotten past, but is as important and integral to the quality of life in this valley today as the beautiful scenery and abundant recreational opportunities that we enjoy. For over 59 years the Glenwood Springs Historical Society has been the organization that has preserved our past and makes it come alive for us today. I ask that you please support the Historical Society as a way to help sustain the richness of our quality of life in Glenwood Springs.
Nick Daley, Glenwood Springs
Thanks to Banks for quality of life column
Kudos to Jon Banks’ guest opinion column about quality of life in Glenwood Springs (Post Independent 2/15/23). Our city government seems to have forgotten the citizens that have built their lives here. It appears to me they think the only people that matter are the tourist and the folks that want to move here. What about your constituents that have made their home here, raised their kids, built businesses and gave back to the community through their business enterprises and charitable giving? Quality of life is why most of us moved to Glenwood and for the past 15 years the city has forgotten about us.
I am hoping new blood on city council might change the city’s perspective.
Dave and Polly Malehorn, Glenwood Springs
Quality of life is invaluable to any long-term comprehensive plan
To the Editor:
Jon Banks’ Guest Editorial laments the lack of explicit attention to Quality of Life in the new Comp. Plan proposal. Interesting to me is the juxtaposition of his piece with the article about the Historical Society’s request for essential funding support from City Council.
Banks identified the crux of the issue very well: the challenges listed in the document result from growth — a long-term trend assumed to be inevitable — yet it fails to ask what the citizens want in terms of growth, and why. Potential annexation and in-fill builds on that assumption that the desirability of our town won’t diminish if growth destroys the unique quality of life the community cherishes.
Lines on a map and population figures don’t describe what makes a community a community. Our Historical Society has preserved the memories of the many generations whose stories have woven together the fabric of our unique community, from its first inhabitants through the waves of migrants and the changes they wrought, for better and worse, making it what it is. Newcomers deserve the opportunity to become members of our community. But that possibility disappears when the community itself is simply engulfed by sprawl and its history is made invisible without its dedicated protectors.
We need our Historical Society to be funded and recognized for its essential role. And we need to go back to the drawing board and ask our residents what quality of life means to us, and include it in our Comprehensive Plan.
Laurie Raymond, Glenwood Springs
Kudos to Coal Ridge student helping in Turkey
I hope all of your readers took the opportunity to read about Coal Ridge senior Caleb Thompson on the cover of last Friday’s Post Independent. It changed the outlook of my day and encouraged my heart! Caleb is having an unparalleled foreign exchange student experience in Turkey as he was approximately 100 miles away from the epicenter in the recent earthquake. I would imagine Caleb had every chance to return home, but instead he is helping in every way possible, from translating to raising relief funds through the local Rotary Club.
While I wouldn’t wish for anyone to endure what has happened in southeast Turkey (and northwest Syria), I can’t help but think Caleb will finish High School changed for the better. He will have what it takes to succeed at any college or job and he will be far ahead in all the ways I can think of that matter. Our community is fortunate to claim Caleb and I personally want to acknowledge his mom, Gina Thompson. You have every reason to be extremely proud! It must have been utterly frightening to know your son was in the thick of such devastation and yet you seem to realize the difference Caleb is making there.
I encourage everyone, if you haven’t already, to donate to our local Rotary Club and designate it to go to relief efforts. Caleb, we are so proud of you and send all of our supportive thoughts and prayers for your safety, mental health, and success with your tent camp. Well done and THANK YOU!
Dina Jones, New Castle
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