Why is the Animas River Trail so dark at night from the Junction Creek bridge to the fairgrounds? Also, I had to dodge rather large piles of horse excrement in two places along the trail. Are equestrians subject to the same "pooper scooper" law as dog owners? - Tulipomaniac in Animas CityThere's a simple explanation for why the trail is so dark after sunset.
It's because there are no lights, explains Kevin Hall, the city's parks, open space and trails development manager.
Hall wasn't being condescending or glib. It's just a statement of fact. That trail behind Durango High School just plain lacks lighting.
"That section is one of the original parts of the trail, and it was constructed more than a decade ago when lighting was not considered," he said.
Illumination is required for all new trail work, Hall said, adding that the city favors "point-to-point" lighting that provides night walkers with just enough brightness to see their destination without blocking out the stars or creating light pollution.
That's amazingly enlightened, so to speak.
In Durango's bad, good-old days, municipal lighting consisted of cheap pole-mounted sodium vapor bulbs that threw out enough candle power to grow hothouse tomatoes or give sunburns to redheads.
Thank goodness for the Dark Skies ordinance.
In light of this situation (again, so to speak), carrying a flashlight or headlamp is your best strategy for any nocturnal stroll.
There are no current plans to install lights along the trail behind the high school, but it could be done at some point in the future, Hall said.
And what of the meadow muffins so inconsiderately deposited by horse riders?
Those darn equine interlopers.
"I had to dodge those piles, too," exclaimed Hall. "Horses aren't allowed on the Animas River Trail."
Action Line asked fairgrounds staffers to remind horse owners to limit their pets' peregrinations.
Can the Colorado Department of Transportation paint stripes on the College Drive/Camino del Rio intersection showing that the westbound left lane is for left turns only and that the middle lane is for left turns as well as going straight into the Albertsons parking lot? The minuscule sign by the traffic lights is not cutting it. I can't count how many times I have nearly been broadsided by someone in the far left lane driving straight through the intersection. Today it was a red "T" city bus. - Robb BrantleyAction Line is the bearer of bad news: no new lines.
In theory, CDOT could install pavement markings for left-turn movements, said spokeswoman Nancy Shanks. However, "in the absence of traffic issues here, we defer to the guidance of the 'traffic bible,' the Manual for Uniform Traffic Control Devices."
"Traffic issues," by the way, means frequent wrecks.
Quoting the bible's chapter and verse: "To the extent possible, pavement marking extensions through intersections should be designed in a manner that minimizes potential confusion for drivers in adjacent or opposing lanes."
Potential for confusion is the magic phrase.
Imagine a white arc through the intersection, which would clear things up for the drivers facing west and turning south.
Now visualize a person facing east trying to turn north (or left) from Albertsons.
Those motorists would have to cut across the newly marked lane.
Shanks explains further: "This intersection operates with 'split-phase' turn movements in which left movements from opposing directions are in close proximity and have to take turns, like at Wal-Mart. Opposing-direction lanes would overlap, thus creating the potential for confusion."
It was a great suggestion, but it's a case of the cure being worse than the disease.
So drive defensively and keep an eye out for morons, scofflaws and ne'er-do-wells.
E-mail questions to firstname.lastname@example.org or mail them to Action Line, The Durango Herald, 1275 Main Ave., Durango, CO 81301.
You can request anonymity if you have a creative idea for our officially designated Bridge to Nowhere at Grandview/Three Springs or whatever the heck that place is called nowadays.