Traffic – the new thrill ride in Glenwood |

Traffic – the new thrill ride in Glenwood

Traffic in Glenwood Springs – it’s one of the great irritations of our lives.Traffic: It’s usually a word preceded by a profanity when referring to Glenwood Springs gridlock.I think we all accept that it’s part of our lives, but it’s no less frustrating.And it’s getting more interesting all the time. With roundabouts, planters, construction, and more congestion than cold and flu season, Glenwood’s traffic situation keeps the irritation level at full blast.After taking a jaunt around town, I felt the 100 percent impact of our traffic situation.For anyone who’s taken to the West Glenwood roundabouts – and emerged unscathed – congratulations. I made it out alive and undented, but my nerves were battered.I decided the only way to approach the roundabouts is to treat them like an amusement park ride. Keep arms and legs inside the vehicle at all times, and drive in a circle until you get nauseous, then get out, and hope it’s the right place.With traffic cones, off-shoots, stop signs, yield signs, buses, semis, construction workers and roundabout-challenged drivers everywhere you turn, I must admit, these “traffic improvements” are more confusing than the metric system.Oh yeah, plus the darn things have two lanes. Any piece of asphalt that’s a circle should NEVER have two lanes.There will definitely be a learning curve for driving in the roundabouts. I can foresee insurance agents and tow-truck drivers hanging out like vultures circling over a desert mirage.Rather than signaling, I just hit the emergency flashers as soon as I penetrate the roundabout. As I glanced at my cell phone, I had a horrible thought. I must make one plea to everyone – please, oh God, please – do not talk on your cell phone if you’re in the roundabout!After practicing on the roundabouts for a few minutes, it was obvious that it may be easier to summit Everest than make my way to DQ for an ice cream cone.Finally, with my nerves as fragile as a mean girl’s promise, I hit the road. It was time to try out the new obstacle course known as Midland Avenue. Once again, I made it through without a scratch, not touching a single concrete planter.Nerves were another story.Boy, I tell you, (insert profanity here) traffic in Glenwood Springs is brutal.After testing the West Glenwood roundabouts one more time – stupid is as stupid does – I headed back into town via Highway 6&24. After sitting through two red lights at the “Village Inn stoplight” and seeing an SUV zip by me and four other vehicles to wedge into the turn lane before the bridge, my nerves were as unstable as Rambo after an IQ test.Then came the Grand Avenue Bridge. Always a bit unnerving, a truck going the opposite way nearly plucked my mirror off as it zoomed past.I decided to stop in downtown for a quick cup of coffee.After driving around for five minutes looking for a parking spot, I concluded that maybe the last thing my nerves needed was a jolt of caffeine and a gas pedal.Thanks to a pair of tour buses, and a gaggle of gawkers at the train depot, my nerves were at the cliff.”Go to your happy place,” I told myself. Actually it was more like “Go to your (insert profanity here) happy place.”Well, since my happy place involved a steaming cup of coffee and no steering wheel, happiness had no place with me at the moment.Happiness while negotiating Glenwood traffic is as possible as getting struck by lightning in a closet.It’s just part of our life. Getting it over with as painlessly as possible, and with as minimal use of our horns and middle fingers as possible, is the only goal.But it’s a challenge. And it’s frustrating, irritating, nerve-racking and (insert profanity here).Now there are roundabouts that may not be the most user-friendly traffic additions we’ve ever seen. But it’s another reality here in Glenwood Springs.(Insert profanity here) traffic – it may not be amusing but it can be a real thrill.”Happy place! Happy place! Where’s my happy place?”It might just be on a bus.Dale Shrull is the managing editor of the Post Independent.

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