Installing toll roads a solution
Last Sunday's front page story lamented traffic problems accessing the mountain resorts along I-70 on weekends and supported no effective solutions. Why? We are but one tiny spot on this increasingly crowded planet to have this problem. Effective, efficient and economical solutions are abundant.
Installing toll booths is the preferred user-pay solution. Those wishing the convenience of the most direct route can pay the fee and take the interstate. Those wishing to avoid the charges can take a scenic route and plan accordingly. If the fees are adequate, unnecessary traffic is discouraged from overloading the interstate - problem alleviated.
Besides the traffic being freed, whatever entity operating the toll road would be blessed with such an abundance of cash, it could build a high-speed train to whisk people to their skiing and hiking destinations in even greater comfort and safety.
The complaint of "poor people" being unduly burdened by a toll lost credibility when the cost of living in the mountains skyrocketed from very expensive to stratospheric. Although employees in ski resorts have financial challenges, they have bicycles, cross-country skis and friends for carpooling. Buses for locals and tourists are a blessing. The rest of us, taking the meandering routes, can be encouraged to remember that the joy of life is in the journey and not in arriving at the destination.
Marietta L. Montaine
No plants in the roundabouts
I agree with The Gazette's editorial that traffic circles are good, except for the way they are done in Colorado Springs. The idea of a roundabout is to smooth traffic flow; however, if there are plants on the approach and in the center that obstruct the view of traffic moving through the circle, then it defeats its purpose. There are roundabouts in this city that have so many plants, motorists must stop at the circle and creep forward to see the traffic. This makes the roundabout worse than a four-way stop. Look at roundabouts in England, Australia or Europe and the only roundabouts with plants in the center are extremely large circles where the traffic is still visible and there are no plants on the approach that obstruct the view of the circle.
Time to leave Muslims alone
In response to Robert Blaha's column, "It's time to declare war": I say its time to finally wise up. We've tried bombing "them" into oblivion, short of using the nuclear option and it hasn't worked. Which Islamist tribe does Blaha want to bomb this time? The Sunnis? Saddam was a Sunni, and we neutralized his military forces in two very costly wars. All that did was empower the Shiites.
Right now the U.S. military is supporting the Sunni forces trying to dismantle the Shiites. Iran is Shiite country - the Iranians are supporting ISIS in Syria, too. Did you know? And so it goes on and on all the time. And people like Blaha continue to lobby Americans to once again engage our good men and women in a proxy war for the Israelis.
Why don't we try leaving the Islamists, Arabs - all the Muslims - alone to work out their differences without our interference? Let's stop giving the extrememist Islamic tribes an excuse to attack us. We don't need their oil, and we don't need to get involved in their civil wars. We need to back off and work out our problems - we sure have enough of them.
Hurry up, we can't wait mentality
The Gazette's editorial, "Don't drag feet on environmental study", attempts to lay blame on the environmental assessment process in delaying construction of a new summit house on Pikes Peak while relegating as a minor footnote the issue of full funding for the project. By trying to simplify and dumb down the complexities of constructing a summit house, the board does a disservice to its readers and promotes potential harm to the mountain we wish to honor.
They have forgotten that decades of maintaining "the roadway" have dumped hundreds of tons of sediment into Severy Creek and other drainages along the way. I have hiked Severy Creek from top to bottom and witnessed the cavernous gulches at the top and the sediment, in places 20'-30' deep, clogging the wetlands at the bottom. The existence and use of the current summit house at the top over the last several decades does nothing to address how the new one would be built, how materials and heavy trucks would be transported to the top in the safest manner possible, and how construction would be phased to allow use of the summit by the public.
As stewards of the mountain should we expect less than that? The board then throws the I-25 expansion from Monument to Castle Rock into the mix. Instead of blaming the politicians, bureaucrats, and community leaders who kicked the can down the road for the last 20 years, blame is placed on an environmental process that doesn't engage until a project is deemed ready to proceed and a commitment for funding is more than just an illusion. Taking the National Environmental Policy Act outside its historic context and the environmental degradation America was experiencing in the 1970s when it was passed does a disservice to the NEPA process, those things Americans value, and Pikes Peak itself, all of which are threatened with the hurry up we can't wait mentality.
More information on the flamingo
A recent story about how flamingos can sleep standing on one leg being solved also failed to explain the reason why they stand and sleep on one leg. This remained a mystery explained at the end of the story.
Actually, this mystery was solved over 80 years ago. The reason is actually pretty simple and logical. Flamingos use the retracted leg and foot to massage their abdominal area, thus never having constipation issues and remaining regular as they graze for fish and other insects in local waters.