Charles D. Pitman: Unanswered monorail questions
Silverthorne, CO Colorado
After years of discussion on alternatives to alleviate I-70 congestion, I absolutely fail to see that we are even close to making an informed decision. Don Ytterberg says: “I don’t think there is any more study required.” Ali Hassan supports a monorail. And just what real studies, Don, have even been undertaken short of those trying vainly to make one’s preordained case?
As long as the I-70 Coalition has been in existence and politicians and citizens have been opining on this topic, I have not yet seen a study addressing the following: Who will be the expected riders and how many (Front Range, out-of-state, foreign)? What will be the load factors in the different seasons? How much will it cost to ride? What are the price points for riders to commit to using a monorail system? How will Summit County visitors get to their daily destinations in all four seasons (e.g., the scores of trailheads)? What is the timeline for a Front Range rider to get from their home to the railhead and hence to Summit County (will it be longer or shorter than driving)? How will that timeline impact their decision to use mass transit? What will be the totality of impacts to Summit County and other counties through which the monorail will pass (e.g., will Summit County turn into a commuter hub for Front Rangers; will there be a significant impact on bus riders or costs to the Summit Stage; what would be the effects on property values)? Could the billions of dollars mitigate more pressing state transportation problems?
I could go on and on with questions not only unanswered, but never even addressed to my knowledge. And just what percent of the days in the year is the congestion really a problem? (I know people who commute regularly and find very few problems if they time the drive right.)
I have strong suspicions that mass transit will be really great for the other guy. That is, it will relieve the congestion on I-70 so that I can drive unimpeded.
For anyone to assert that a particular solution is the answer would seem, at this stage, to be sheer folly. That is the classic road to a government white elephant. How can an informed decision possibly be made when charitably 90 percent of the information has never been collected? Or has it been collected but not disseminated? I’d like to know what these “study” groups are doing with their time and our money short of batting around everyone’s pet alternatives for a billion dollar “solution.”
Editor’s note: More info on the doings of the I-70 Coalition can be found online at http://www.i70solutions.org.
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