One less opportunity | AspenTimes.com

One less opportunity

Dear Editor:In the Jan. 11 edition of the Glenwood Springs Post Independent there was a small tidbit of information on an issue with large ramifications for the city and residents of Glenwood Springs. In the article by “Aspen correspondent” Scott Condon, there was minimal mention of the recent decision by the RFTA Board of Directors to tear up the railroad tracks in Glenwood from 23rd Street south in order to “… significantly reduce the complexity of constructing the trail in Glenwood Springs and reduce construction and planning costs.”Many wonder if the city of Glenwood and its residents will be reimbursed or credited for the many, many extra thousands of dollars spent to accommodate rail operations with the 27th Street connection to State Highway 82 project. Extra engineering and construction costs were incurred to maintain proper grades for the tracks and the roadways, apparently all for naught with the continued decision to remove rail in the Roaring Fork Valley. Will taxpayers have to pay twice, once for the extra costs with the 27th Street connection and again for the trail? And how much more would a needed, safer trail crossing at this busy intersection, such as an underpass, cost?I hope that we do not rue the day when trail became favored over rail. It was not that long ago when there was widespread support to have passenger (and perhaps freight) rail service between Glenwood and Aspen. Will we realize someday, like the many cities that have embraced light rail service, that passenger rail can be effective and desirable?I wish that those decision-makers and supporters who believe the reduced costs and simplicity of removing the rails for a trail today, lived in Glenwood. Our residents and visitors suffer from the impacts of ever-increasing traffic on State Highway 82 right through the heart and soul of our community. I suppose that we can gain respite from the noise, pollution and congestion of traffic (including more RFTA buses) on Grand Avenue by spending time on the trail thinking of new (or old) solutions to our traffic problems, maybe not realizing that we are biking or walking on a missed opportunity.Greg JeungGlenwood Springs

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