Steven Bainbridge: Cures for I-70’s woes
On Monday, the Mike Rosen show on 850 KOA hosted a very interesting call-in show, as they regularly do, with Governor John Hickenlooper. One segment included a discussion of the I-70 congestion problems. Lots of ideas were talked about. Here are several that I have that were sparked by these discussions.
One caller suggested a bus system. As with several of the callers, the governor thanked them and said that the idea would go to a group to study. Two ideas included a bus system that would bring day and weekend skiers to get more cars off the road. In some respects the tone of the discussions was: “It’s been tried, it doesn’t work.” The major other idea was getting semi trucks off the highway on the weekends.
1. I recall then of the hundreds of buses used, daily, nightly and on weekends for the Seattle to Snoqualmie Pass ski areas, This is made up of ski clubs, school programs, ski instruction programs. These programs have worked for years and work well.
A little different set-up is the ski bus system in the Salt Lake area. One has only to step from your in-city hotel to a regular bus stop to grab a specific bus headed to the many ski areas in the canyons above. You get to the ski area of your choice very conveniently.
The systems above may be a good place for the governor’s study group to look at. They all involve trips of one to one-and-a-half hours.
2. Certainly there must be a way to get the semi trucks off the road during peak traffic periods. It is done in many countries in Europe and the grocery stores still manage to have fresh vegetables for the customer! We just have a 24/7 mentality that perhaps could be adjusted.
3. Another area of improvement for I-70 may be in looking at the methods, schedules of snow removal organization of different northerly states. I think anyone who has lived in the Twin Cities area would say that their snow removal is done very efficiently and completely. Now, yes, they are not dealing with passes of 10,000 feet-plus, but somehow the stretches to the ski areas in northern Minnesota seem to be as challenging and are always well cleared by 6 in the a.m.
4. The passes and S curves areas of I-70 seem to experience accidents that stop traffic for significant periods primarily for two reasons:
a. Aggressive speeders and
b. People who have less than adequate tires on their vehicles causing accidents, spinouts and stoppages as they spin their bald and summer tires.
I’m up and down I-70 often, and it is incredible that in icy conditions, when traffic is moving relatively safely at 40-50-60 mph, there are those who think they have to race each other at 70-80. Maybe heftier tickets can be given out for these folks and a PR program be done to encourage the right behaviors in both cases.
I know there are some “yes, buts” to all this, “but” it needs to be further studied and piloted.
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