Summit Daily letters: Amendment 71 and solving Breckenridge parking puzzle
October 4, 2016
Amendment 71 denies citizens access to government
This battle has little to do with rural versus metropolitan politics and it has everything to do with government and corporate interests depriving you of your rights.
Look at Lafayette, Boulder, Fort Collins, Broomfield, El Paso County, Longmont and Boulder. Local citizens fought tough battles against the oil industry to ban fracking in their communities. The Colorado Supreme Court decided these communities don't have the right to decide whether they want fracking. So the people decided to amend the constitution to give themselves the right, and they didn't get enough signatures to get on the ballot, according to the Secretary of State. Of course that might have had something to do with the ad campaign the oil industry ran urging voters not to sign petitions to put measures on the ballot. Remember "Your signature is worth something?"
Sounds like the bar is high enough to me. And I bet citizens of Lafayette, Boulder, Fort Collins, Broomfield, El Paso County, Longmont and Boulder, who have been deprived of their rights, think the bar is high enough.
Amendment 71 would require 2 percent of registered voters in each of the state's 35 Senate districts to sign a petition to put a measure on the ballot. The problem is much of Colorado is rural, and rural folks tend to be late adopters of new ideas. How many rural voters do you think would have said, "Legalizing Marijuana is a good idea, let's put that on the ballot!"
When was the last time you remember ANYTHING passing by 55 percent? That's how many people would have to vote yes to change the constitution in Colorado, if Amendment 71 passes.
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Amendment 71 increases red tape and takes control of state issues away from the voters.
Vote no on 71.
Exclusive interests at play in Breck transit flap
The recent charges and counter-charges between Vail Resorts and the city council of Breckenridge have brought to a head a fundamental contradiction. Vail wants the entry and exit of thousands of daily visitors to Breckenridge to be as seamless and effortless as possible. Breckenridge wants the same thing but only to a point. They also want those visitors be placed near Main Street to encourage those visitors to stay and spend money there during their visits. These two desires are, in reality, mutually exclusive.
To allow people to get to the slopes as effortlessly as possible, traffic must not be routed to Main Street or into heavy traffic areas. To do so makes traffic and parking bottlenecks inevitable. Looked at objectively, the F lot on the south end of town is the worst possible location for a parking structure. Putting a structure at that location requires hundreds of cars coming from the north to continue all the way down the length of Main Street or along the entire lengths of (narrow) North, then South, Park Avenues all the way to the Village at Breckenridge. Upon their eventual arrival, these visitors would, indeed, be in close proximity to Main Street and that may, theoretically, encourage them to take some time after skiing/riding to visit the shops and restaurants there. It will not, however, ease traffic congestion and irritation. Because this destination requires drivers to drive all the way to the opposite end of town, it will only make current problems worse.
One semi-solution would be to place the new structure on one of the parking lots adjacent to the gondola. This would keep traffic density as it is (a questionable solution as the area is already congested and traffic is often at a standstill during peak morning arrival and afternoon departure times), but at least it would not force visitors to spend even more time in heavy traffic to get to a parking structure further up the road. Whether the possibility of a parking structure at the gondola site location has already been eliminated because development is planned for those lots is a question, but eliminating all those vital parking spots without providing a place for those cars, hopefully in an even better location, would seem to be the height of foolishness.
The inescapable conclusion would seem to be that if the city council is adamant on keeping visitors in the Main Street area, the town must accept current (or even greater) levels of traffic slowdowns/congestion/visitor irritation, especially if a structure is built at the F Lot location. If, on the other hand, the council wishes to minimize traffic in congested areas, it must give up the goal of parking people close to Main Street.
If efficient transport of large numbers of skiers/riders to the mountain is the goal, a parking structure north of the gondola and the F-lot would seem to be the best solution. Most visitors are arriving on Route 9 from Frisco. If they need not drive into the congested downtown area at all, a significant time savings would automatically be achieved. If a structure is built further north, perhaps on the site of one of the current satellite lots, the ski area could use the Copper Mountain model of frequent buses to each base area (in Breck's case, the gondola and the Village at Breckenridge). This would significantly reduce the current level of traffic congestion and eliminate the need for a structure in town. Because fewer people would be parked there, current parking lots need not be changed. In addition, the unpopular pay parking proposal need no longer be on the table. To accept this, however, the town would have to accept that many of these people would not linger in town. The question is, what is the priority? You can't have both efficient movement of large numbers of people and the ability to concentrate them in the middle of town. You can't expect a reduction in congestion/frustration if you force visitors to drive for an hour on congested roads once they arrive in town just to park on the other side of it. That is certainly not the way to create a good impression of Breckenridge and, in and of itself, might well serve to drive people away from lingering there.
I hope the town council and Vail Resorts are willing to do the right thing and look at alternate solutions that serve both the visitors who come here as well as Breckenridge residents. Making the Breckenridge experience a positive one for everyone should be the priority of both parties
Being polite at the skate park
I have a few questions. First take a moment, relax, and reflect upon your life specifically surrounding skateboarding. Ready to begin? Okay. How old were you when you started skateboarding? Are you still learning? Who were the skaters who most influenced you? What were some of your fondest memories surrounding skateboarding?
Why do I ask these questions? I have three children and they absolutely LOVE to go to the skate park. The warmth a parent feels to see their child peel themselves away from your hip and venture into the unknown is quite amazing. Sending a child out to play soccer, to a friends house, the playground, or the skate park requires letting go of control and significant trust, not just in my child, but in others.
I trust that we are all in this together. I trust we want to help others to succeed. What I don't trust or understand is the "culture" I'm seeing around the skate park. How are we helping if we're cursing out children for making an unexpected turn? How are we helping by screaming obscenities across the skate park? What are you impressing upon others by throwing your skate board in disgust?
Kids learn from those around them. My kids are learning the lines through the park by watching the experienced skaters. You know what else they're learning? How to drop an F-bomb and throw their skateboard if things aren't going as planned.
So skateboarding community I ask for your help. I ask for your help with awareness and imagination. Awareness of surroundings. Awareness that kids might not skate the same line as you so give them extra space. Awareness that there are young innocent ears and minds amongst you. Imagine compassion for another human being especially if that human being is 7 years old. And an imagination to leave the curse words and disgust behind you and guide those following in your footsteps with knowledge and expertise? You were a kid once and you're still someone's son or daughter.
Elect Bruce Carey as district attorney
I'm writing this letter in support of Bruce Carey in his bid to become the 5th Judicial District's next District Attorney.
With full disclosure I want everyone to know that Bruce and I have been personal friends for over 27 years and that during my campaign he was one of my biggest champions and supporters.
When I started my career here in Eagle County in 1989, Bruce was just starting his as a prosecutor and later became a local defense attorney. Over these many years we have each made mistakes, learned difficult and sometimes hard lessons from those mistakes, corrected our errors and become better people for them.
Several years ago I watched Bruce come close to death when he had serious heart problems that required surgery. Following this close call his outlook and perspective changed and he put himself on a path where he put his health first, started training more to avoid a repeat of his close call, and soon thereafter, started giving back even more to our communities.
I've known Bruce to be an advocate of the rule of law both for the victims and the suspects, and able to offer a perspective of not doing something because you have the right, but for doing the right thing.
Bruce is an advocate of restorative justice programs like the Veterans Treatment Court and Alternative Courts that help handle the unique issues we face and help in reducing the recidivism rates of offender, as well as open communication with the law enforcement sworn to serve our communities. This is the kind of resolve we need in a district attorney.
I am convinced that Bruce is dedicated to serving all the people of the counties where he will be the chief prosecutor in a fair and balanced manner. This is a man who has not only dedicated his career, but has dedicated his life to make our community a safer and better place and I urge you to look strongly at him when you cast your vote.
James Van Beek
Making Breck a world-class ski resort
Recently the mayor compared Breckenridge to Aspen and Vail, claiming Breck is a world-class resort. Nope, the mountain barely qualifies, but you can't have a world class resort without world class lodging or world class dining. Breck has neither. F-lot should be the site of a world class hotel. Rumor has it the Broadmoor was interested in building in Breck. Put parking structures on the north and south ends of town. Charge $10 a day and provide free bus transportation. On the back of the parking ticket, let restaurants and stores offer a 10% discount. Traffic problem solved, town gets more revenue. Fire the consultants who suggested roundabouts all along Park and heated sidewalks (at 5 times the normal cost) would "fix" the traffic problem.
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