Notes from a wannabe traffic consultant
Dear Editor:I believe it was Mark Twain who said, “There are lies, damned lies and statistics.” I got a pretty big chuckle out of that many years ago. That was also my first reaction to last week’s articles about the HOV lanes. Pitkin County commissioners and CDOT, pay me a bunch of money to be your consultant and I will come up with any data you require to convince you to shut that policy down. It is not safe!Granted, no roadway can ever be completely safe. There are always hazards and idiots – kind of a double indemnity clause, but when you drive the road every day as I do from necessity, you learn to recognize some of them. The HOV lanes, however, raise the danger level another notch or two. One safety issue involves traffic speed and flow. There is a lot of construction going on (as if anyone didn’t know) that requires a lot of material hauling. I know many heavy equipment drivers and I have the utmost respect for anyone who drives these rigs. Sorry guys, but sometimes you impede traffic. I’m sure you know it, too. Many of you go out of your way not to, but what can you legally do? I drive a small truck and my own mirrors are adjusted for normal highway driving. I pretty much know where everyone in my vicinity is and what they are doing. Unfortunately, since I am confined to the left lane, too many times they are hanging in the blind spot to my right rear. If I could just pull over and drive the way I was trained the world would be a safer place. Imagine how the big rig drivers feel.Another safety issue involves traffic entering on the left from such places as Holland Hills, Wingo Junction and Lazy Glen in the morning. If the rule were strictly enforced I could be fined for allowing someone the full use of an acceleration lane, even the one which doesn’t exist at Lazy Glen. It is common road courtesy to allow someone merging ahead of you as smooth an access as you can safely give them. I mean, c’mon people, you say you have half the cars carrying twice the people. Well duh, what does that mean? It could mean that half the time there are cars carrying two or more people. It could mean that some of the time some of the people choose to ride with others. It could mean anything anyone wanted it to mean, so I reiterate my offer to be your consultant. As long as you end up seeing it my way, I would be happy to accept checks of up to ten million dollars.A final thought: I would be on the bus in a heartbeat if it took me and my tools where I needed to go. In the meantime, I try to be as legal as I can without endangering myself or others.Gene KopeckyCarbondale
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Novelist John Grisham, the master of the legal thriller, is in Aspen this week to give the keynote at Tuesday’s Aspen Words Book Ball at the Hotel Jerome.