We need less-polluting ways of commuting
In response to the Times-Call article, “Polis urges bold future thinking,” I agree that the way we support our transportation system needs to change.
I enjoyed the ease of taking trains everywhere when I visited Europe. Not only did I not have to worry about finding my way on unfamiliar roads, but I could sit back and enjoy the views. The other benefit, I came to realize when I did drive, was that the roads were mostly empty, because a significant amount of people were using public transportation.
While Colorado lacks the comprehensive train system of European countries, we have a thriving, if limited, bus and train system. As the state Legislature has prioritized transportation funding, we have a unique opportunity to slow climate change by supporting other forms of transportation besides motorized vehicles. The greenhouse gas emissions from fossil fuel vehicles are the biggest contributors to air pollution — and Denver’s infamous brown cloud.
Imagine a train that could travel the length of the Front Range — from Colorado Springs to Fort Collins. Not only would it reduce the heavy traffic now encountered on Interstate 25 and decrease air pollution, but it would also have the added benefit of improving the health and welfare of those who live near the highway — often lower-income communities of color who suffer disproportionately from health issues such as asthma.
Historically, Colorado has spent 95% of state transportation dollars on road infrastructure. Keeping roads maintained and repaired is expensive, plus adding more roads adds more traffic — and more pollution.
Here in Boulder County, we have a fantastic network of well-used bike paths and trails. But we also have increasingly congested roads. We need other, less polluting ways of commuting: electric buses, more bike and pedestrian paths, and an expanded mass transit system — not just for us but for the health of our planet.