Wednesday, March 28, 2007

A light at the end of the tunnel?

It's not your imagination. Ski traffic is getting worse. The Denver Post reported Monday that an additional 152,129 cars passed through the Eisenhower Tunnel from November through February compared with the same period a year earlier. And the highway has been closed more often than in previous years. I-70 between Denver and Vail has shut down 69 times since October because of weather and accidents. A Department of Transportation study estimated that Colorado's mountain communities lose up to $800,000 an hour when I-70 closes at peak times.
This is usually just a Denver problem. Us Colorado Springers (Springians?) can take the back way to Summit County. Even so, you can help but look at the smog and the traffic delay signs and the dozens of serious accidents and think, "It's time for a train."
Colorado voters already voted down a 2001 ballot initiative that would have built a $50 million monorail test track. But according to
Westword, the sate has plans to ask the voters (again) to fund a train on I-70.
The state is planning to conduct a rail feasibility study for both the I-25 corridor and the I-70 mountain corridor as a first step toward asking voters in 2008 to approve a statewide passenger rail system.
It just seems to make sense. Ski tourists that fly into DIA and can just hop on the train and zoom all the way to Vail. Front Rangers can park and ride instead of sitting in traffic or worrying about slick roads.
Mountain locals could make that inevitable trip to Denver without worrying about parking downtown.
The 2008 measure would also add trains to the I-25 corridor.
We'll see if enough people have sat in traffic over the last six years to approve a train plan.

1 comment:

Ski Bunny said...

It does make perfect sense for a variety or reasons -- the first being in the mountains, during ski season, the resorts all have great bus transport.

The mountain towns do have to embrace the car concept, though. If people can take a train to the mountains to then rent a car that will make the concept almost as successful. Some folks are going to still want that - ski luggage doesn't move easy.

A great concept and the ski industry and Denver, etc. should embrace it.