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colin

Denver Highways/Traffic Thread

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I wanted to post an article, and I couldn't find a similar post so will open with a rambling paragraph:

I've driven on just about every freeway in Denver, and I'm surprised at the neglect of the secondary freeways. For instance, I-25 and I-70 seem to be in very good condition (I-76 isn't great, but it doesn't really go anywhere), whereas US 6 (Sixth Avenue), US 285, I-225 and C-470 all look dated and are far too narrow for their respective capacities. Most of the stated are two lanes in each direction, and we're talking about major urban freeways here. C-470 is the only freeway to the upscale Highlands Ranch, while I-225 is about the only freeway in Aurora (population ~300,000), unless you count the E-470, which is skirts its eastern boundaries.

Even that damn US 36, that I've been caught on a few times here, is two lanes for most of its length. And this is the only corridor connecting Denver and Boulder.

Maybe it's just a push to use alternatives, which I'm all about, but, in the case of US 36 at least, there is no alternative: even the buses have to slog through it.

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This was all over the news today. No alternative modes mentioned, but it'll probably mean increased capacity and toll/HOV lanes. I-25 north of Denver has these now. They're separated lanes flowing in one direction and can be used by 3+ cars or those who wish to pay the toll (not sure how much it is or how this is enforced). Either way, US 36 could certainly use the upgrade.

Article

060707tolls_graphic.jpg

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Without knowing the facts, I'd blame rampant growth and a relatively anti-tax populous. There's just too much that needs to be done, and not enough money to do it all at once. As it is, Colorado Springs has to beg and plead to get any dollars thrown our way... and our roads are a mess too. There are several major state projects pending in Colorado Springs, but it's unknown when the funding will be available.

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Our "mess" concerning transportation is due to a lot of factors. A lot has to do with land use decisions made without consideration of the impact on the transportation system and often the impact of transportation on land use. It's local governments pushing the costs of development(e.g, dumping local residents onto Interstate and other main highways because there are no local street alternatives) to the state and feds when the latter have little or no say-so on local decisions. It has to do with drivers not paying for much of the cost of travel directly, particularly parking and storing their vehicles- probably the biggest unrecognized subsidized/indirect cost of all. It's everyone wanting go anywhere at anytime, but not really willing to pay how much that luxury really costs.

And that's true just about everywhere in this country. As CDOT itself has admitted, the State can't even keep up what we have to current standards if revenues for transportation don't increase. That's one reason I get upset with the Independence (from having a brain) Institute. They don't seem to understand that highways and roads are deep in the red and tolling new construction or even existing state highways isn't going to solve the problem alone.

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