Grand Lake Fourth of July parking is a human liability
July 16, 2013
To the Editor:
Grand Lake has a massive traffic-management problem for the 4th of July. Far too many vehicles are in this town that night of the year, with no good place to park. (It is estimated that over 3,500 from out of town were here, not to mention the number of persons in each of those cars, trucks, motor homes, or campers.) Any or all are allowed to park on both sides of the narrow, twisty, hilly, two-laned and already dangerous Highway 34 — the only route in and out of town. People are therefore walking in the road on July 4.
I happen to know of a certain small city, Galveston, Texas, which handled such a yearly mammoth traffic problem in an imaginative way. For one weekend, students from all over Texas pile into the smallish city of Galveston and the beaches of the island. But several years ago the city council realized such numbers of persons on their island was a human liability. Citizens realized Galveston simply could not cope with such a crowd. The city of Galveston decided for those spring festival weekends, tickets would be sold. Galveston sells only a certain number of tickets. On those weekends, police persons stop and check every vehicle for a ticket and/or proof that one lives permanently in Galveston. If one does not have a ticket or proof of residence, he or she does not get into Galveston that weekend. This small city took such action knowing their choice would limit sales and revenue. But they chose safety over more money.
Another possible temporary solution to our July 4 traffic problem might be this: Grand Lake could rent some large parking lots in Granby, 17 miles south. Persons coming from the south into Grand Lake would be forced to park their vehicles in those lots and take vans at certain hours of the day and evening. But no vehicles of any kind would be allowed to park along highway 34. People would pay a small fee to ride vans into our town, thus cover the cost.
This issue is urgent and involves human liability. Town board of Grand Lake, please step up to the plate immediately concerning this issue, fresh in our memories and on our minds. Vote in some changes in order to make this beautiful environment a safe place, even on the 4th of July.
A family of eight children and a father and mother, from our neighbor Estes Park, merely wanted a holiday night out in our town. The mother was nearly killed, as were three children of the Westley family. Gregory Westley, the father, is dead. The perpetrator is quoted in this paper as saying, "I would like to just . . . provide for my family." The man is out on bail until further Grand Jury decisions, we read. But Mr. Westley, we are all sure that you wanted to provide for your family also. We are truly sad that you are gone, and cannot.
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Dr. Sybil Pittman Estess
Grand Lake area