Vail Daily column: Round and round we go

Richard Carnes
My View

Who remembers the old four-way stop in Vail?

OK, probably quite a few of us, but who remembers the old four-way stop in Vail … fondly?

Unless you’re one of those stuck in the proverbial loop of remembering the “good ol’ days” (aka inflicted with a severe case of rose-colored memories), the mere thought conjures up nightmarish images and mental videos of long lines, long waits, angry locals, pissed-off tourists, frozen cops directing from the middle of the intersection and fender-benders tying up traffic for hours during the winter.

In short, they were a big pain in the tuchus.

The possibility of having red lights installed to replace the stop signs was met with the same reluctance most sane people have to Trump being president — no flippin’ way that would be acceptable.

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Having a red light in Vail would be akin to having to walk up a staircase in Beaver Creek.

The horror.

Enter Leif Ourston’s plan for the first “roundabout freeway interchange in the United States.” While some fought the idea, it was passed, constructed and opened in 1995, with locals clamoring for more roundabouts before the new paint stripes were dry.

Within three years, Avon jumped on the roundabout bandwagon and quickly had one roundabout for every 520 residents, the highest per capita rate in the Western Hemisphere at the time.

So here we are, two decades later, talking about a tax increase that “might” include a new roundabout at THE red light in Edwards to compliment the four constructed six years ago.

It’s a no-brainer as far as the 1 percent sales tax increase is concerned.

Granted, most of us rail against another tax increase in Happy Valley like the thought of another Clinton in the White House, but our options are becoming more limited by the year.

Sure, we could go another route and incorporate Edwards, imposing an entirely new taxing district along with all the other fun costs a brand new town would include.

But that ain’t gonna happen.

With more and more families in Homestead, the Fox Hollow subdivision, the resurgence of the West End project, Lake Creek Village, Brett Ranch, continued growth in Singletree, Arrowhead, all four Cordilleras (or however many there are now), traffic is not going to get any better on its own either.

What bothers me, though, and should bother each of you as well, is the lack of specific definition for how the taxes would be spent, hence the quotations around the word “might” a few sentences back.

Ninety percent of Edwards residents go through THE red light at least once a day (yes, I made up the number, but hey, somebody prove me wrong), so constructing a major roundabout there should be the top priority and earmarked for this specific tax.

If not, and the issue fails one week from today, I’m guessing that will be the biggest reason.

Richard Carnes, of Edwards, writes weekly. He can be reached at

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