Whenever I drive Colorado Highway 3 to pick up my daughter at Escalante Middle School, I encounter “The Death Merge.” Isn’t there a better solution as we risk life and limb trying to cut across three lanes of heavy traffic? Why can’t the Highway 3 light be coordinated with the light at the Durango Mall to allow gaps in southbound traffic? – Caution: Nervous Mother Driving
P.S. While you’re at it, is there anyway to address the Four-Way Stop Sign of Anarchy at the intersection to Walmart and Escalante?
Driving around here certainly has become more of a chore since the turn of the century. Which just happens to be the last time the Colorado Department of Transportation evaluated traffic patterns of U.S. Highway 550 in and around town.
It’s time to re-time the lights – and CDOT already is working on the update of its year 2000 configuration.
This summer, the department conducted a traffic count in preparation for a major review of stoplights from Colorado Highway 172 all the way up to north Main Avenue, according to our good friend and CDOT spokeswoman Nancy Shanks.
“The light at the Durango Mall should create a gap in traffic, so that’s definitely going to be looked into,” she said.
Armed with data, CDOT will tweak the sophisticated algorithm that controls the stoplights.
Now that’s something you don’t see every day: the words “sophisticated” and “CDOT” used in the same sentence.
Anyway, not a whole lot can be done to improve the physical layout of The Death Merge.
It’s in an awkward location with limited space, and the only real solution would be an enormously expensive overpass – like the “Bridge to Nowhere” just down the road at Grandview.
And we all know that ain’t gonna happen anytime soon, if ever.
So it’s up to us. The Death Merge provides an opportunity to be kind and considerate.
When heading south on U.S. 550, slow down and allow your neighbors to cross the highway.
And for folks merging, use your turn signal and wave to the nice person who let you in.
The same goes for the Four-Way Stop Sign of Anarchy. We have to take turns.
This is an especially difficult task, considering how self-absorbed many Durangoans can be.
Sometimes, the most aggressive driving comes from the Subaru with “Coexist” and “Wag More – Bark Less” bumper stickers, driven by a peace-studies graduate late for yoga.
Also, when approaching the Four-Way Stop Sign of Anarchy, be very careful. Drivers coming out of Walmart may make irrational movements and impulsive decisions.
The fact that someone’s at Walmart proves that they’re already in a highly irrational and impulsive state of mind.
Combine this with the intoxicating effects produced by the off-gassing of cheap plastic junk, and you have a recipe for disaster.
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The Mea Culpa Mailbag never fails to amuse.
Last week’s column about ways to enhance “the Durango Lifestyle” prompted a fabulous bon mot from loyal reader “Bill in Animas City (distinctly not downtown).”
Bill suggests a new law: “Everyone will be required to ‘shop local’ and must be able to produce a receipt from a local business if stopped and detained by ‘Kunkel’s Undercover Kops.’
“No receipt? You’ll be escorted to the nearest downtown store and forced to pay tourist prices for gaudy faux turquoise jewelry made by local artists in Taiwan – plus five hours community service watering and weeding cigarette butts out of the planters,” he proposes.
“Downtown Vibrant Livability members would be exempt from investigation, remaining free to hire out-of-town contractors to build or remodel their urban housing,” concludes Bill.
E-mail questions to firstname.lastname@example.org or mail them to Action Line, The Durango Herald, 1275 Main Ave., Durango, CO 80301. You can request anonymity if do your Walmart shopping before 7 a.m. Saturday so no one will see you there.