Daly: No, Eagle’s lifestyle isn’t under attack | VailDaily.com

Daly: No, Eagle’s lifestyle isn’t under attack

Mick Daly
Special to the Daily

Perception versus reality. As humans, our perception is our (chosen) reality until we allow logic to regulate emotion.

Let me be clear, I don’t like being held up in traffic (although living in the Rockies is so different from commuting into London 30 years ago). When I can’t park in front of my destination business, I accept it, hopefully with good grace. However …

”Traffic will destroy our town!” When I hear this apocalyptic message in letters to the editor and from objectors at town board and planning and zoning hearings in Eagle, I wonder. Will growth in traffic and less-than-convenient parking patterns really ruin our beloved town and its wonderful lifestyle?

Let me provide some context, logic and, I hope, a more realistic and promising prediction. Looking to the future, we’re in pretty good shape:

  • The Eby Creek roundabouts were designed to accommodate three times the current traffic.
  • Sylvan Lake Road was designed to accommodate the full build-out of the Haymeadow and Frost Creek developments.
  • Haymeadow will be required to build the Brush Creek Road extension when its developers start the Phase 4. They just started Phase 1.
  • The town has plans for a Highway 6 corridor study which will assess traffic, future road configuration and anticipated zoning/development from Eby Creek to Gypsum.

What causes rush-hour traffic? Commuting is a big factor. We tend to think of Eagle as a bedroom community with most folks commuting upvalley for work, causing holdups at peak traffic times.

However, the U.S. Census Bureau statistics say otherwise. According to 2015 data, there were 2,818 people who work in Eagle but live elsewhere, 1,647 residents of Eagle who work elsewhere and 546 residents who live and work in Eagle.

Surprisingly, almost twice as many people commute into Eagle to work as leave Eagle for their jobs. A total of 4,465 people commute, whereas only 546 Eagle residents work here.

The Town of Eagle and the Eagle Chamber of Commerce share the same vision and goal: a future where people love to live and play in Eagle and (if they choose) can work here as well. In our ideal future, most of our residents will not need to commute. In fact, many will prefer to ride bikes or walk to work — a strong trend among millennials.

In that future, “rush hour traffic” may be less of a perceived problem than it is now.

What will get us to that glorious future? Healthy growth. Eagle becoming a home rule town will also help.

Healthy growth will provide critical mass. A population of 10,000 will support our town like never before, bringing and starting new businesses and providing jobs for locals.

Healthy growth provides attainable housing (including substantially more rental property) that attracts and sustains the younger generation who will generate that job growth.

Healthy growth will encourage us to put locals first and “keep your money where your home is.” Our dollars circulating here are an investment in local job creation and preserving a healthy, diverse and prosperous community. A critical mass population will spend more of their dollars here, supporting a vibrant economy.

I hope my friends who fear traffic and parking problems will take solace from our compelling vision and join us in supporting the healthy growth that promises a bright future for all.

Mick Daly is the president of the Eagle Chamber of Commerce. For more on the chamber, go to http://eaglechamber.co/.