"Crazy Train," Jessica Centers, March 15
Can someone explain to me why the vast majority of us who aren't skiers should subsidize the ski industry? If moving people up to the ski areas is so important, let them finance it.
Sure, during the winter months, when everyone is heading to a handful of ski areas, train travel makes sense. But what about the summer months, when the Front Rangers are exploring every inch of Colorado? Do I yell "Next stop!" halfway over Vail Pass to access an obscure trailhead? Would a train haul me to a campsite with my camping gear, kayak, climbing gear, mountain bike and dogs? The train is fast to Summit County and Vail, but then what -- hire a sherpa?
What the advocates of the I-70 train plan simply don't get, or choose to ignore, is the fact that the automobile is a necessary ingredient of the outdoor lifestyle. A train will not get you to a secret backcountry fishing hole. A train will not get you to the trailhead of a fourteener. A train will not allow you to haul a dead elk home from a weekend of hunting. Nor will a train provide access for backcountry skiers, who represent the fastest-growing outdoor group in Colorado.
When you look at the train's inability to get people and their gear to remote locations, it is obvious that the train plan serves the anti-oil ideologues who promote it rather than the people actually using the highway. It's time to get real. Any rail system up the I-70 corridor would be just a "ski train" -- and if that's what the state needs, let Intrawest and Vail Resorts pick up the bulk of the tab.
Kudos to Jessica Centers for the first article on the I-70 corridor expansion controversy that tells the truth and makes sense.
With "Crazy Train," Jessica Centers has done a superb job in researching, interviewing and writing on a complex subject that should be of interest to everyone in Colorado. Unfortunately, most people won't act until it becomes a crisis to them personally.
Ten years ago, during the performance of the MIS, I provided the engineering that led to selection of the original CIFGA monorail for the I-70 corridor west of Denver. The chosen system, based on the proven Spanish prototype Eurotren Monoviga EM-401, was chided by the Owens administration as an elitist fantasy not of proven technology. In an attempt to satisfy the skeptics, requests for state funds were sought for a demonstration -- not a "test" -- of the technology. This factor was overlooked by the media when reporting the legislature and voter defeats of the funding requests.
More important, the proposed 180-plus mile-long system was to be built, operated and maintained by a private consortium. In other words, no taxpayer funds required! All the consortium required from the state was an easement to permit erection of the monorail support columns within the existing I-70 right-of-way to avoid land-acquisition costs. This fact was not understood by the public or explained well by the media.
Today, several committees are racking their collective brains to identify funding sources to build a transit system or widen the existing highway. Why aren't they looking for private investors who would build the monorail as proposed almost eight years ago? They still exist.
Jack B. Stauffer
I enjoyed "Crazy Train." Jessica Centers brought together plenty of details about the I-70 corridor that I had only been able to find piecemeal. My sole reason for living on the Front Range has been the recreational quality, and beauty, of the plains and mountains. I remember the bumper-to-bumper congestion of the old, two-lane I-70 while returning home from hiking and skiing trips back in the early '70s. During the '70s and '80s, the widened highway moved things smoothly, but that expansion was never properly completed. As soon as you approach the bottom of Floyd Hill, the traffic bottlenecks begin and do not let up until the Empire turnoff. The steepness of Floyd Hill, the bottom curve, the infusion of traffic entering from the Golden/Boulder on-ramp, the tunnel and, finally, the hill that rises south along Idaho Springs all add up to create a long stretch of "side friction" (engineering parlance for things or designs that impede normal traffic flow). Those frictions add up quickly, and any car/truck accident literally halts traffic. If CDOT eliminates those bottlenecks using proven engineering design used on Vail Pass and through Glenwood Springs, that will buy several years of reduced side friction until additional solutions are required.
The scenario of taking an express train from Union Station up through I-70 over to Vail for a relaxing excursion into the hills is lost on me. Drive down our new I-25 from Broadway south and try and see the mountains. Mountain vistas have been eliminated by tall bas-relief concrete sound barriers, with the added beauty of RTD power lines. This may be a perfect commuter canyon, but it is not tourist-friendly. What does one do at the other end of the mountain line? How does one get to the trailheads and campgrounds? How does one go up Mount Evans or over Loveland Pass? Those accesses are the real endeavor of the great majority of weekend and vacationing tourists. Rest assured, rapid transit will be a delight for land developers, and the small communities along the way will give up the charm and solitude they cherish.
Finally, the construction cost of several billions of dollars will be the least of the true cost of a rapid-transit expansion. The beauty of mountain vistas, the natural places, the wildlife and wildflowers will all be seriously impacted or even lost.
"Let's Do This," Joel Warner, March 8
I'm a World of Warcraft player, one of the eight million of them. I have to congratulate Joel Warner on "Let's Do This," which was brilliant. I haven't read such a realistic article about WoW from a non-player; usually, the only thing we read in articles about WoW (or any other MMORPG) is a warning about how addictive the game can be, along with some examples where someone died/lost his family -- because that sells well.
I have to thank Joel in the name of all the MMORPG player "geeks" in the world.
I just wanted to tell you how very much I enjoyed this article. I have played World of Warcraft for a couple of years now with my husband and son, and have wondered if the character of Leeroy was still active or not. It was nice to see the article shed some light on how the fame is affecting the player behind the character. Kudos to the author for a well-written and insightful article.
In my opinion, the reason the movie is so big is because it encompasses all the aspects of the in-game raiding. Planning, one dude making the decisions, everyone's roles in the fights...and the one guy who never listens!
I enjoyed the article very much! Thanks.
My wife and I are amateur podcasters (http://theelfanddwarf.podbean.com) and have a show that focuses on World of Warcraft. I read the article about the legend of Leeroy Jenkins with some interest, and found it engaging and fun. I had seen the video some time ago and am as curious now as I was then if it was staged or not.
"Man-on-Man Action," Nathan Lee, March 8
I wonder how Nathan Lee squares his lame review of 300 with the record-breaking box-office receipts for the movie over that weekend? Granted, Americans don't always spend their movie dollars wisely, but this film is similar in some ways to The Passion of the Christ, at least in terms of how out of sync the reviewers are with the movie-going public. What's the deal, Nathan? Is this just stupid America looking for an artistic slasher movie, or are we all latently homosexual, as your review would insinuate?
I think there's a deeper and more profound issue at play here. As a rule, if you went to journalism school or graduated with a degree in art history or some other equally useless major and perhaps work at a newspaper steeped in self-loathing postmodern multiculturalism, then, yes, you'd have a serious problem with 300. You see, the basic premise of the movie -- in fact, its only premise, really -- is that freedom is worth fighting for. Nathan didn't want you to see this movie because it goes against everything the politically correct left is trying to sell you. In this movie, the Spartans take the battle to the enemy in a way that probably keeps Nathan up at night. Not only that, but they rebuff offers of "peace." I mean, sure, there were strings attached -- like having to kneel to a foreign conqueror -- but how hard could it be to kneel if it would save so many lives?
Hollywood just can't bring itself to make a patriotic movie these days. They choke on the very concept because they view themselves as change agents. They're there to mold future thinking. We have people like that in every area where public opinion is formed, primarily in the media and in education. As a result, the media is losing readers and our children come home crying about global warming even as they fail their CSAP tests. No, 300 hits a note with viewers because they are confronted with whether they'd be willing to make the ultimate sacrifice to preserve their freedom. Simple concept, not much dialogue needed.
Ask a Mexican, Gustavo Arellano, March 8
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