Vail Daily Editor and Publisher Don Rogers: Much a do about I-70 gridlock
Vail, CO, Colorado
Except for a few hours of a few days over a few months, I can drive 90 mph between here and Denver. Only the State Patrol or a snowstorm can stop me.
In the winter, Vail and Beaver Creek mountains brim over with skiers on peak days. In summer, our little valley fills up with visitors and second-home owners. And still the experts, bureaucrats, politicians and assorted other Chicken Littles wail about the mounting crisis that is I-70 gridlock.
Perhaps the least productive government coalition ever formed plops out occasional reports and studies without doing anything demonstrable about this awful, awful traffic — the member representatives able to drive I-70 at 90 mph (if State Patrol lets them) to meetings about this catastrophe.
Fortunately in this case, there’s no money for all the fabulous solutions to a problem that doesn’t really exist.
Rush hour on I-25 through downtown Denver — now there’s a real problem. The worst that can be said about I-70 is it’s an occasional inconvenience if you choose the wrong time to drive in and out of the mountains during ski season and summer weekends.
I’m for more potholes, if anything. Earn your way here. Stay longer. Puzzle out the 95 percent of the time you can avoid the highly predictable traffic jams. Maybe buy a place here.
Of course, many wiser, much more thoughtful people than I disagree with me about I-70’s gridlock.
But it’s just so obvious when all you have to do is get in your car to test whether this is a major crisis for Colorado or another pretend problem — like, say, parking in Vail.
Incidentally, the parking overflow in Vail directly refutes the notion that traffic’s so bad that Front Rangers can’t get here from there. Funny what a powder day can do.
Much better to see the opportunity in I-70’s regular but infrequent congestion. What many of us have been viewing as this big problem actually is a key part of a successful business model, even if accidental.
By the way, I don’t see much need to worry about Park City eating our lunch because Salt Lake City is a shorter drive. If that were so, they would have finished the meal a long time ago.
The traffic challenge actually helps our airport. Weekends when the congestion is worst limit the ski mountains and towns to full capacity. Savvy drive-up visitors come during the week, when we can use the business boost to augment the out-of-state and international visitors who more typically stay through the week.
This isn’t a problem. It’s a blessing — apparently in disguise.
Editor and Publisher Don Rogers can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 970-748-2920.
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