*** udpate March 2018 below
So, when I moved to Denver ten years ago, they talked about crowding on the I-70. The I-70 is our main thoroughfare through the mountains, and the only way to get to the ski resorts (of which we have millions). It was agreed that something needed to be done about congestion on the 70. See, on Sundays, the I-70 pretty much comes to a stop heading Eastbound (into Denver). So, they figured they have a few solutions:
1. Widen the I-70 to accommodate more lanes
2. Do a bus only lane (would also require widening)
3. Light rail through the mountains (would also help pollution)
Easy, boy, said the electorate. Let’s not be rash in our decisions. Let’s have a study. They did a ten year study which is concluding this summer. Millions spent on it. You know, millions that could have gone to a solution instead went to discussing the solution. Eggheads call that ‘Analysis Paralysis’, and I agree. So, ten years later the report is about ready and here are the suggestions:
– Widen the I-70 to accomodate more lanes
– Do a bus only lane (would also require widening)
– Light rail through the mountains (would also help pollution)
25 Million smakeroos. $25 Million dollars and ten years to come up with the same solutions. $25 Million that could have been spent on solutions. Awesome!
So, they announce their same three solutions and the mountain communities say “no way to widening, NO WAY“. Valid concern, but dig this. This didn’t come up during the ten year study. I guess no one asked them. This only came up after the ten year study was released this month. Really? Couldn’t the mountain communities have told us that ten years ago? Or, maybe, anytime in the last ten years? Really, we did a ten year study of what to do with traffic through the mountain communities and no one asked the mountain communities? Not once in ten years? Apparently not:
He says mountain communities feel like they were excluded from a previous study which focused mainly on widening the highway to six lanes.
Well, if we can’t widen… then that pretty much throws out the bus idea. This is fine, because the buses would be super- pollutey. If you know Denver, you know the ‘brown cloud’. So, what solutions do we have? To me, and many others, the best solution seemed light rail (a train of sorts). It would be fast, weather proof (a biggie), and require less environmental destruction (paving) then the widening. Problem is, light rail is super expensive. It costs about a million dollars a mile. We don’t have that kinda cash. Of course, we did have $25 million. We probably could have built a test line from Morrison to the Tunnel… or Evergreen. Problem is, we blew that $25 million discussing the widening. The widening idea was tabled after two weeks of public discourse.
Ten years, not a single thing solved. Ten years. They handed it to the public, who solved the concern in two weeks. So the real question isn’t how do we solve the I-70 conundrum. Obviously no one really cares about that. The real question is how do I get myself on one of these study groups?
*** Update March 2018 ***
There is a solution, of sorts. Though they never announced it, and I am not even sure it was a choice… they have opted to only expand the roads by toll roads. To go ANY direction out of Denver, CO… you get a toll road.