Editorial: Not enough roads
Vail, CO Colorado
The Eagle Town Board has recently rejected a plan that would have built scores of “affordable” homes in town.
On the surface, rejecting the plan seems unconscionable. Any developer willing to build moderately-priced townhomes or condos ” even in a previously all-commercial area ” should be encouraged.
There’s more to the story, though.
For about 22 hours a day, it’s easy to get around any part of Eagle (any part of the Vail Valley, actually). But morning and evening traffic in town can be frustrating, especially for those who cling to the notion that Eagle is just a quaint little mountain town where only cows or sheep should clog the main streets a time or two a year.
The main problem with traffic in our fair valley is that an interstate highway, a rarely used but still-active rail line and a river run the length of it, and building a crossing over any of them is a complicated, expensive proposition.
The result is “rush half-hours” that rival real-city traffic, albeit for just a few minutes a day.
Eagle’s board recently approved a townhome project near City Market. That means more traffic, but, perhaps, residents will walk to the grocery store.
The rejected plan, along Chambers Avenue, would have done the same thing, but would have put residents within walking distance of only the post office and a handful of restaurants. That means folks would be driving to and from the grocery store at the same time everyone else does.
Town board members already hear complaints about the town’s street system. More cars would mean more phone calls and angry e-mails.
The answer in the long run is simple: Eagle needs at least one more river crossing, and could use another route to the interstate before adding more traffic to the town’s streets.
The controversial Eagle River Station commercial project on the east side of would do both of those expensive things, but comes with a good bit of housing, which, presumably, will be sold to people who own cars. Town voters may have to decide whether swapping even more traffic for another way to get across the river and onto I-70 is a wise trade.
“Scott N. Miller
For the editorial board