E-mail letters, June 17 2011

Traffic signals work
well, but drivers don’t.

I am responding to Jeremiah Habecker’s comments in his letter to the editor published June 14 because aity staff cannot.

I gotta admit that the letters and “You said it” column in The Daily Sentinel are a constant source of
entertainment. Nothing like people asking for someone to get fired when they have no clue what they are talking about.

The unique aspect of my profession is that anyone who drives considers themselves a traffic engineer. Well
there is a lot more to it than just being a roadway system user.

First, the traffic-control devices are monitored and adjusted as conditions change. Patterson Road is the busiest long road in Grand Junction, and the city does a great job of keeping the traffic flowing at all times.

Second, you may have to wait a bit to turn onto Patterson Road or anywhere else, but I can guarantee that
you will not wait more than 120 seconds — time it yourself to verify. Your perception doesn’t match reality if you think you are waiting 5 minutes.

Third, there may be a case where some part of the signal system is broken and something isn’t working correctly. You have two options in this case. You can pay more taxes so that the city can hire more people to monitor every intersection in town on a daily basis. Or you can contact the city and let them know that something seems wrong. A letter to the paper is probably the least-effective way to solve such a problem.

Fourth, the signal system can be designed and operated to perfection, but may work poorly. Why? Distracted drivers are using it and not paying attention. How many times have you been behind someone at a traffic signal who doesn’t go when the light turns green? These “inefficiencies” are just part of the deal, but it doesn’t mean that city traffic engineers aren’t doing their job.

Don’t even get me started on pedestrian cross walks.
Skip Hudson
Professional Traffic Engineer
Grand Junction

Wheelchair bound man
in favor of roadless areas

At a recent Colorado Roadless Rule meeting, Roy Selby was quoted by The Daily Sentinel as saying, “They’re trying to eliminate me from getting out in the woods.” He added that “the roadless rule appears to violate the Americans with Disabilities Act by making it more difficult to visit and hunt the land he has prowled for 56 years.”

I understand Selby’s sadness at being unable to visit places where he once walked. I am a quadriplegic and have used a wheelchair to get around for almost 28 years now. When I was a young, able-bodied man I, like
Selby, loved to hunt and fish and hike in the wooded mountains of Colorado. Yet, no matter how many roads that are built into the mountains there are places I will not be able to visit, unless we propose to pave the whole forest.

There are an immense number of roads that take me into woods of unspeakable beauty, places where I can hunt and fish and commune with nature. I’m thankful for these places. Yet, it nourishes my soul to know that there are places where machines are not allowed to tread. I think that wildlife, including some of the animals that   Selby and others hunt, need these places in order to thrive and even survive.

Furthermore, even severely disabled individuals are able to get into backcountry on horseback, places
where no road will take you.

What angers me about this situation is that opponents of the roadless rule would stoop low enough to use people with disabilities to further their political cause. I think anyone truly concerned about the disabled
population’s access into our forests would do more good by supporting the building of more disabled- accessible facilities and trails along roadways that already exist. That way we can get out of our vehicles and away from the road and into the woods.
Roy High
Grand Junction

Roadless areas will add to
public lands mismanagement

The Forest Service and the BLM are both so bureaucratically immersed in their projected plans that they are ineffective in the management of our precious public land. The more they restrict it by way of roadless,
wilderness, and many other recent restrictions, the less effective and less productive and more policing gets accomplished.

The environmental-influence management via lawsuits by the Sierra Club and many other organizations
guides the policies that are enacted. My suggestions are as follows:

First, the head of these organization need to be people with qualifications that have a bearing on the future and production of these lands rather than politicians.

They must know forest and forest management and have many years experience in trees, grass, erosion of the soil and the economics of water management.
The must be responsible and willing to defend their ideals and work, in court if necessary.

They need the backing of our judicial system to face the extreme environmentalist with productive facts and proven agricultural policies that enhance the forest rather that set it aside for non-use.

They must Hire people with similar interests who can show long-term gain in land management policies.

They should refrain from too much advertisement of the special places and the critical areas that are harmed by too many visitors. Word of mouth allows seekers find these places without all the publication.

They must learn that water is the most basic resource and the management of that water is far more important than the management of droves of people. People management is the priority right now, with the land going down the drain. Policemen are not land managers.

Access is extremely important. The more difficult, the less management takes place.

They should put a whole lot higher priority on local input than broad policy.

The present management should be prosecuted for mismanagement. Politically minded people with egos that are inflated are in control of this valuable resource. The organizations are filled with law enforcement personnel that add nothing to the resource. A political “good buddy” is the last thing we need to manage these properties.
Proper forest management would have confined fires to much smaller areas before they burned. We should harvest forest products after the fires instead of letting the trees rot away after they burned. This would have allowed many forest industries to stay in business instead of facing bankruptcy and abandonment. It would reduce building cost because local lumber is available and would reduce unemployment so these occupations and skills have a resource to build business upon.

The Durango fires left over 70,000 acres of timber severely burned and rotting away, over a billion dollars of timber. The present Arizona fire is now a half million acres of timber burned, mostly because of no management of the resources. How much money has been spent on fighting these fires that cannot be controlled after this mismanagement of our precious forests? What kind of sense do roadless areas and wilderness areas make in light of present mismanagement of our public land.
Bud Van Den Berg
Austin, Colo.

Scenic closing may be
mostly about public relations

Let’s cut to the chase. I do not understand why a School District 51 board member requested that the Board of Education make a recommendation to permanently close Scenic Elementary School.

Scenic is a high-performing school with a long history as a professional learning community committed to excellence. The whole package is what makes this school work — the principal, Doug Levinson, the teachers, the staff, the students and their families, the size and the campus.

Levinson and team have built an educational foundation and long-lasting bond with our learners that continues to offer support as they enter higher levels of education and adulthood. Scenic prepares our students for academic success. The school inspires personal growth for the learner to “do their best” and get
“caught doing good.” That takes a systematic approach.

The open floor plan works in favor of students working together and it promotes faculty cohesivesness.

As I read the Feb. 1 National Education Policy Center’s publication on consolidation, the “research on the effects of contemporary consolidation suggests that new consolidation is likely to result in neither greater efficiency nor better instructional outcomes.”

I encourage the board and the superintendent to take the advice of the NEPC and closely question claims about presumed benefits of closing a school: “What reason is there to expect substantial improvements, given that current research suggests that savings for taxpayers, fiscal efficiencies and curriculum improvements are unlikely?”

I believe that the Board of Education’s suggestion to close Scenic may serve a public-relations purpose in times of fiscal challenge rather than serve a substantive fiscal or educational purpose. I would like to see the proposal substantiated or board members retract their suggestion to break up this excellent learning

Lida Smith Lafferty
Parent Alumna and Speech Pathologist
Grand Junction


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