EDITORíS DESK: In government we trust?
This is the message Westsiders seem to be getting from multiple government entities of late. The U.S. Postal Service wants us to believe its now-rescinded, retroactive address-changing was just one employee's well-intentioned mistake. The Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) wants us to pick an expressway or freeway alternative for Highway 24 without clarity on what it will look like or what homes and businesses will be torn out. And Colorado Springs Traffic Engineering wants us to accept their new (mostly higher) speed limits - even though they will encourage people to go faster through several residential neighborhoods.
One of my favorite bureaucrats is Tim Scanlon, a city planner who also wears the hat of historic preservation planner. He likes to joke about the one statement that he knows will raise the hackles of Westsiders: "I'm from the government. I'm here to help."
In the end, in a world where government seems to pop up everywhere, it seems pretty apparent that the only way people can get what they want is by taking the time to work for it, even fight for it, if necessary. Dave Hughes took his addressing case to the Postal Service and to City Council. The Old Colorado City merchants made it clear to CDOT, in no uncertain terms at a special meeting this week, that regardless what scenario the state eventually pegs for Highway 24, the 26th Street intersection must have free-flowing access. As for the speed limits, I guess we'll see if any individuals or neighborhood groups mobilize.
True, it is a hassle to question authority... I mean, to actually do it, not just slap on a bumper sticker. But I think we'd better get used to such hassles now and then if we hope to keep the Westside a special place. Trust me.