Solving Traffic Problem In A Roundabout Way


My family and I attended an air show during the 1995 grand opening of Denver International Airport. It was an amazing event, but it also was a long, exhausting day.

As we left to go home, it was clear we were in for a grueling wait to exit the parking lot. We told the children to relax and we would all make the best of it.

As thousands of cars slowly inched forward, most of the drivers were courteous and allowed waiting cars to take turns entering the moving lanes. But one driver and his female companion zoomed up and stole a gap just as another car was entering.

To my utter amazement, and with my children watching from the back seat, the driver of the waiting car jumped out and began yelling obscenities at the offending driver. In the blink of an eye, both drivers and their partners were out of their vehicles punching, kicking and denting each other's cars.

As this frightening display of rage unfolded, my first thought was to shield it from my children. But instead, I found myself asking them "What are these people fighting about?" The answer came quickly: they were fighting over 15 feet of asphalt.

This week, there is likely to be heavy traffic congestion and delays on North Highway 87 when the new Home Depot opens without a completed roundabout intersection. Our story on page 1A details reasons why the traffic circle will not be finished in time. Estimated completion dates range from two weeks to two months.

We could start pointing fingers, placing blame, and questioning the logic of building a traffic circle on the highway in the first place.

But a more productive approach to the roundabout is patience, courtesy and optimism. Naysayers have targeted town improvement projects in the past. In the end, many of these proved to be wonderful enhancements, such as Green Valley Park and the library.

As darts of criticism begin to fly, we can choose to join in the murmuring, or do something to make things better. I believe the roundabout and planned north gateway, though inconvenient now, will prove to be a positive addition to our town.

This week I am taking the same advice I gave my children -- let's relax and all make the best of it.

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