Navigating Durango’s traffic maze

To the editor,
We all know the traffic in Durango is annoying but I can’t take it any longer. I know it’s a “First World problem” but so many things about how the traffic infrastructure is placed or how the lights are programmed drives me crazy. For instance, in a June 2003 Durango Telegraph story Ed Demming, CDOT’s safety and engineering guy, said that CDOT was about to install “inexpensive” synchronized traffic lights on Main Avenue and that if drivers drove the speed limit they would not have to wait at too many red lights. I’ve been in Durango since before this was supposed to have been installed, and I can’t say that I’ve noticed any synchronized traffic lights!

I drive from Florida Road to Mercy for work and leave at 6 a.m., and I can still hit every single light at red along the way, even if I’m the only car on the road! Let’s say we synchronized all the lights to be green once you’ve stopped at a red light anywhere along 550/160 from East Animas Road to Elmore’s Corner (yes all 19 of them plus two very differing and confusing crosswalk lights.) Traffic would flow so much smoother; there would be less potential for accidents; fuel consumption and therefore pollution would go down (hippies say Yay!); and drivers would save money on gas (everyone say Yay!) Not to mention this would save wear and tear on your car’s breaks, engine, transmission and basically the whole car. Drivers will save time and be able to predict how long it will take to drive across our small town.

But instead, we got a new “continuous flow intersection” at the DoubleTree which is technically impossible to achieve without it being an overpass that doesn’t require a stoplight, definitely not two. Not to mention that 4

reducing four lanes of traffic down to two on a major artery to the intersection really just robbed Peter to pay Paul because now College Drive backs up to E. 3rd Avenue!

Maybe I’m just an idiot missing something crucial in this equation or maybe I’m the smartest man alive, but I think everyone who drives through Durango could have it so much better. If you agree, maybe contact our local officials or promote me to traffic czar.  I promise I won’t add any more stoplights.
– Mart Barr, Durango

Helping vets at the Stand Down

To the editor,
The VA, DAV, American Legion, Red Cross, Veterans for Veterans and Volunteers of America are hosting the first veterans Stand Down for our area. The event will be held at the La Plata County Fairgrounds on Nov. 15, from 8 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. The event is held in order to find and assist the homeless veterans and those that are having difficulty adjusting back into the civilian world. Agencies that will be attending will be helping with jobs, housing, taxes, legal assistance, clothing, haircuts, flu shots, camping gear (for homeless only) and much more.

If you would like to help at the event, please contact 970-551-0084. If you are in need of a ride please contact 970-238-1291.

Stand Downs are a way to provide our veterans with a “hand up and not a hand out.”
– Gabe Torres, Colorado Workforce Center, Durango

Demand end to child trafficking

To The Editor,
In the Herald recently, a columnist from the New York Times, Nicholas D. Kristof, revealed an alarming fact that 100,000 underage girls and boys in America are involved in prostitution. Websites mentioned in this article, such as Backpage, are making huge profits off of sexually exploited children, and current loopholes will allow this to continue.

Permissive attitudes have shown their ugly and evil faces in many other websites where everyone of us have been appalled. One horrifying adult website stands out in my mind from an article in a recent Rolling Stone called “Silk Road.” For over two years, where was law enforcement to stop this immediately, Silk Road sold cocaine, heroin and could even arrange a murder for the right price. Is it any wonder that I and others legitimately fear for our lives with this insane norm?

Could all the candidates in the U.S.A., just voted into ANY office, be a hero(s) and make some obvious changes, not only with God-awful websites? You do, after all, make six-figures, have a free and exceptional health care plan, and get other lifetime perks most of us only dream about.

If anyone agrees with me, please send a copy of this and/or your own personal concerns to the newly elected, locally and in D.C. Hint: paste this or any other writings on a postcard when sending anything to Washington, D.C., government offices because envelopes will not be opened unless the return address is from a certified VIP (this throw-a-way-the-envelope idea came about when a mailing containing anthrax, supposedly, was sent to a Senator back in 2001).
– Sally Florence, Durango

Vet denied 20% discount on ticket

To the editor,
I thought I was OK with my disabilities, but now I’m hurt because I was not allowed a 20 percent discount for the Durango Train.  I was told by a Durango Train employee that because I did not serve my 20 years I would not be allowed a 20 percent discount. I explained to her that I was injured during Desert Storm during the first Bush Administration and had my hip replaced, knees redone (both), back plate and steel rod inserted in my leg. It was not by choice that I was discharged medically and with full benefits. But I felt discriminated against for serving my country and was not entitled to the military discount.

I am writing this information to remind other veterans that only 20-years-served vets are allowed the 20 percent discount, not disabled vets.
– Thanks for your time, CPL Ricardo J. Garcia, Durango

City changes course on ADU safety

To the editor,
I am concerned the City is reversing course on its promise of enforcement and standards regarding accessory dwelling units, particularly the health and safety issues of the older (pre-1989) ADUs in our neighborhoods.

This past summer, I received the City’s “Important Notice” regarding the adopted procedures for permitting existing ADUs. The documents delivered, as promised, a fair approach of inspection, fees and permitting for all ADUs.

On Oct. 7, in a City Council study session, a new proposal reversing or altering the promised procedures for some ADUs was presented. Most troubling was the elimination of life/safety inspections on units existing prior to 1989, unless a permit was being applied for.

The existing sub-standard ADU problem has been decades in the making. The new proposed procedures perpetuate the problem.

Given the commitments at previous council meetings regarding life safety and concern for those living in substandard ADUs, why the change?
– Alma Taylor Evans, Durango

In this week's issue...

May 11, 2023
Digs for dirt bags

New hostel offers hikers, skiers and other frugal fun hogs place to hang their hats

May 4, 2023
Saving the cemetery

Proposed apartments spur efforts to preserve historical burial grounds

May 4, 2023
Rico reprieve

Small mountain hamlet to remain resort-free, for now