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Letters to the Editor

Great lossI live in Mexico City and have been coming, with all my family, to Vail since 1967, and I think it will be a great loss for the people in Vail and for the visitors that come to the top ski resort in the world not to have an excellent bookstore like Verbatim.Tinina VelasquezMexico CityWhat’s the plan?Reading about Rewold-Thuon, the incoming principal of Avon Elementary, I found her mission very interesting but lacking an important part.What is her mission for the students who are there now? Those who are very pleased with the leadership and the teachers today?Shouldn’t their parents get a written note with the principal’s mission at this point?It is important to know if everything is changing or if the principal will continue the best of the good work that is going on today. It would be a pity if students leave because of missing communication.Anna-K. LarsenAvonRoundabout rules “The ins and outs of roundabout etiquette” (Vail Daily, April 22) illustrates the unnecessary confusion that has arisen out of a very good traffic design that at times resembles a great piece of art that was never finished. The roundabout problem is not a matter of etiquette, although there is always a place for road pleasantry. It is rather a matter of failed communication and following or not following some established and very clear rules of the road.Roundabouts are a brilliantly simple solution to the traditional four-way intersection, which present 32 possible points of conflict to a driver. In a roundabout, that driver will face only eight points of conflict; for a pedestrian at a four-way there are six potential ways to get hit, but only two at a roundabout. Combine this with the removal of stop signs and traffic lights, the running of which is a major cause of accidents, and you have a pretty slick system that can reduce accidents by 40-60 percent and keep traffic flowing very well.And there is absolutely no need for the misinformed confusion expressed by Scott Miller and the Vail Police Department in the Daily article about what the rules are for driving in a roundabout. Miller presents the Vail Police Department as being ambiguous as to what the laws governing roundabout actually are, and this is unacceptable. If our local traffic authorities don’t understand local traffic systems, how do you assign liability in the event of an accident?Roundabout rules are clear and concise. There are no gray areas whatsoever. They are exactly the same rules that apply to all other traffic situations and are well codified in state driver’s handbooks. Nothing anywhere makes an exception to the rules of the road for roundabouts. The chief among these, taken from the California driver handbook: Slow down when approaching a roundabout. Yield. All entering vehicles must yield to circulating traffic in the roundabout. Look to the left for circulating traffic and enter when it is safe. Choose your lane upon entering the roundabout based on your desired exit or destination: The right lane is for straight-through movements or right turns. The left lane is for straight-through movements, left turns or U-turns. Do not change lanes. Maintain your lane position until exiting the roundabout. To reiterate: You choose a right or left entry point based upon your destination. You yield to traffic on the left when you enter the roundabout, and you yield to traffic on the right to exit (if there are two lanes). This is absolute and always. While in the roundabout you maintain your lane assignment until you make a safe and legal lane change, you obey the speed limit and you do not stop unless you come to a yield sign. You may share a two-lane exit with another vehicle. And that, my friends, is it. What the developers of roundabouts need to do is finish their projects properly, and this means hiring people who are skilled in the building of similar user interfaces to analyze potential problems and develop coherent solutions using symbols and signs. We need fewer and more uniform signs throughout the system that convey concise information about basic rules at exactly the right locations. If you want to stagger traffic, which is a good idea, create a graphic showing three cars staggered across two lanes on a curve, label it “Stagger the Flow,” make it the right height and size and place a couple of them strategically. I guarantee you, absolutely, that traffic will soon be staggered. Another sign labeled “Maintain Lane Assignments,” with a similar graphic, would remind drivers that there are defined lanes in the roundabout and that one must not drift out of them. Key roundabout entry points should also be posted with signs and graphics showing the destination of each entry lane. As always in these matters, the devil lies in the details. The roundabouts are marvels of traffic engineering, but they were never brought to a proper conclusion. They need a better user interface. Most importantly, local authorities need to completely eliminate their own apparent confusions about the system and make that clarity available to the public. Walt BujarynAvonThe big and small of itI have seen a lot of ski towns. They all have their own atmosphere or call it in a more modern way, “ambiente!” Vail is growing its own ambiente. Visitors recognize it more then we do and like it. Now we discuss Crossroads and all the big buildings. Do they destroy or help? Our famous Bavarian King Ludwig, who built the castles there, would be probably very happy about Beaver Creek and Vail, as all the new buildings resemble more and more his own famous castles. If you want to impress, what else can you do? You build a castle.But are you sure that within 30 years all these castles will be still liked, or will it be like in St. Moritz, Switzerland, where you have all these this empty old bunkers that had been called “beautiful buildings” according to the taste of 50 years ago? Vail needs a lot of customers to keep the place running. Small shops are in trouble or leaving. Help, but how? Our weekend visitors are important and without them, I have learned, Vail wouldn’t be Vail.But everybody who has their own car seldom shops in Vail. They go all over the place to find the best deal, even if they have enough money to waste. This are not the consumers to keep small business in Vail alive. Not real estate, but Wal-Mart and the “big boxes” have destroyed small business here.What the Vail stores need is not help; they need customers without cars who are happy to get something within walking distance. These customers are called “destination guests.” ….The more valuable the land, the higher the buildings. This is the same all over the world, and Vail seems not to be the place to avoid this. High buildings also store more skiers. But are all the additional empty condos helpful and necessary? Some of them are never really used. They get bought and sold like stock.Isn’t the beauty of this little town and the valley also a high value?Vail is a special community, a mixture of ambitious skiers, money makers and outdoor fanatics. A beautiful and crazy place. For those who like it, it’s heaven. For others who are missing their big cities, it is kind of a punishment, as they can’t get what they are used to having. And they try hard to turn Vail into a city like they feel it should be for their own needs. Another part of Vail seams to be that everybody who does not have enough money gets kicked out. The way this system works is very simple. When your neighbor gets an offer to sell his land for twice or three times the value he had paid before, he may sell and leave. As a result, all the property tax in the area goes up, and then some others may also have to leave.When I go to Austria where I was in ski school many years ago, all my old friends are still there. Vail is different. When I came here about 40 years ago, we have been about 50 instructors. Let’s say about five of them are still here. All the others are gone. Could they afford to stay? No!In Austria, the guy who had a farm built a guest house and later on he built a hotel. Now he is the owner of his hotel. In Vail the guy who owned a place lives downvalley and some company builds the big hotel. Do you know the owner of the new hotel? Is he your friend? See, those are the differences between a resort and a town. Whining doesn’t help. The ski mountain is in perfect shape and everybody who is visiting seems to be happy. The improvements to sleep more guests will help get more customers for the local stores and business. Weekend business was a good start, but the future may be different. And someday Vail will find out that the available space is not endless, and empty buildings, as well as empty condos, are not helpful. To use Vail as a stock market for real estate seems to hurt the economy, as well as the community. Vail should not become a Wal-Mart for skiers like many other ski towns are going to be. It still has all options to be at the top of ski resorts. But careful! Big buildings, even when they have a lot of towers and roofs, might not be the place where people like to be.Big buildings create a resort. Small buildings make a town. What is the goal? Otto WiestVailGreat seasonTo Vail Resorts: It was a great year and THANK YOU! I saw a proposal in the local paper while I was out there and wonder if it will come to pass. It related to season passes and suggested having one for senior citizens, NOT VALID on weekends or holiday weeks (or with some extra charge against one’s credit card). The rationale for such a pass was terrific. These people (myself included) would stay in the area using hotels, restaurants, etc. (as distinguished from the inexpensive lift passes sold to “day trippers”) and would use the mountain when it was less busy, and quite often for less time during the day (I am a three hour maximum skier). I would hope that you will consider instituting such a pass.George G. GellertVail, Colorado


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