Highway 50 Debacle
After reading MJB's op ed piece in the Mountain Merle I got to thinking. Now some of you that know me know this can be a dangerous thing :-)
Reading the op ed, the contractor tasked with coming up with a way to "Fix" Highway 50 among other things thinks that traffic needs to be slowed, ostensibly to ensure that folks driving thru Salida will be enticed to stop at local businesses, and that left hand turns need to be inhibited by installing medians, Delta CO was cited as one model. In the past Gunnison was cited as a model we were desirous of having.
One nagging question comes to mind. What passer thru will all of the sudden feel the need (that didn't already have that need) to stop and buy a new car? Have a sudden urge to browse a hardware store? They will already stop and buy pot, and stop at Mickey D's regardless of the speed limit, but how about a new Garage Door ? Get the family dog groomed? Rent a backhoe? Buy a gun? Stop and spend an unplanned day Fly Fishing? Pawn the family jewels? Have the computer upgraded? Buy new cell phones?
Think of the business demographics along the highway. Not a lot of what tourists are looking for, and the locals already shop there, have a need and a destination when setting out about their daily tasks.
Folks already see, and stop at restaurants, motels, and gas stations, at least the ones on the right side of the road if medians are installed. I don't know about you, but the more difficult it becomes to access a business when I'm traveling thru, the less of a chance of my stopping.
CDOT "Fixed" 1st and F st's. That went so well they tried to undo it, thankfully at the end of the day we didn't need those 11 parking spaces that disappeared, and haven't come back. I guess that's the reasoning for all the "Patios" that currently occupy parking spaces, we already have a plethora of parking downtown, right? Nobody stopped to think, if the tourists can't park, they don't shop. Right........
They "Fixed" Highway 50 with new striping to introduce bicycles into traffic. Build it and they will come, right ? Apparently not, massive boondoggle, both of these projects, which addressed a "need" that didn't exist, with grandiose promises from those doing the work, now need to be undone and things put back the way they worked well for so many years.
Spending money to address a fictitious need that fits in with some contractors "vision" of what Salida can be made into, instead of addressing what's there that can be made better needs to have some sort of logic past "Pretzel logic".
Delta has storefronts all up and down the street, folks can park and shop, much like downtown Salida. That's not what Highway 50 is, despite it's second name, Rainbow Blvd. It's a state thoroughfare, a main east / west artery, we need to keep it as such, move the commercial traffic and the RV's thru and get them on their way. Heck, even if you enticed RVers to stop, where can they fit those huge monstrosities in a parking lot anyway? Murdochs? Wal mart ? that's about it, what benefit is gained other than to slow traffic to the point of gridlock, inhibiting everyone who lives here from carrying on their respective daily business.
There are MANY other worthy projects that could use the funds in a much better manner, street repair comes to mind, as does the stressed infrastructure needing upgrades. Perhaps some more of those attractive speed radar signs.
An old quote from Bugs Bunny comes to mind as being spot on.
"Consequences, Schmonsequences, as long as I'm rich." -- Looney Tunes, Ali Baba Bunny (1957, Chuck Jones)