EDITORíS DESK: Highway curves

       By the time a lot of you get this issue of the Westside Pioneer, the public open house on Westside Highway 24 Nov. 10 will have already occurred. So there's not much point in encouraging you to go. But even still it's not too late to gather information on the subject and offer comments. The Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) has a project phone number (477-4970) and a website (www.dot.state.co.us/US24W/index.cfm).
       Theoretically, if the media was doing its job, you should already have a pretty good idea of what's happening. But sad to say, that isn't the case. Sure, it's nice when the Pioneer gets a "scoop" - as happened last week when we were the first area news organization to show the massiveness of both the state's new Highway 24 plans, with the "narrow" version equivalent to the width of I-25 and dozens of Westside homes and businesses at risk. Still, I fully expected other publications to do similar research and provide similar information to their readers. Nope. The Gazette came closest in today's (Nov. 17) issue by at least talking to one prominent Westsider and gleaning that there is some concern about how the project turns out. But nothing about the actual size of the thing. And as for the Gazette's latching onto the angle of dropping attendance at the public planning sessions, as though people over here had some amorphous apathy condition, that's just plain ludicrous. If there's any reason for the dropping attendance, it's been CDOT's tedious approach till now: no actual meetings since the first two, just drop-in open houses reprocessing public input that has now been largely thrown away in engineering these oversized alternatives. Since no one else in the news business seems ready to tell it straight, I'll try. Do you want the Westside to degenerate into little more than a giant funnel for impatient drivers to get to and from the mountains? No? Then maybe it's time to let CDOT hear about it.

- K.J.