This last week’s news articles about what has been happening around Grand County has been sadly informative and disconcerting. The valley is changed forever from what it once was. As to whose responsibility it is doesn’t really matter anymore. It is what it is. Problem-solving ordinances to curtail growth to help reduce impact have been enacted, from banning plastic bags to forced garbage sorting to denser housing solutions. Will it all work? Maybe, maybe not.
Things are getting a lot more expensive around here. Affordability is of chief concern for many, and I do not see an easy solution happening. Those who were here before and those now, and those who will live here in the future have difficult economic, social, cultural, ideological and political days ahead. Banning everything or some things that bring money into the valley is being considered, but it is too late for that in my opinion. Why? Because Moab valley and the close surrounding area have incredible things to offer and we have diverse competitive economic interests and deciding who wins or loses will keep up the stalemate.
Congestion is of huge concern right now. Turning left or right, parking facing forward or backward, getting in and out, or timing it all just perfectly so smooth transition from one destination spot to another occurs seamlessly is only a temporary fix. The Utah Department of Transportation has indicated that a tunnel proposal to re-route traffic is too “expensive.” That was a dumb idea in my opinion and just wasted time.
Hard decisions have to be made and we all know the only realistic possibility left is to create a less-expensive-expensive route along the south rim. As an old joke goes, what do a tornado and a divorce proceeding in Tennessee have in common? Someone’s gonna lose a trailer. People have invested to build homes and other things there and making a bypass will definitely affect them. “Do nothing” is the current theme. Learning to accept and live with it is certainly possible, but is this the valley’s only option?
Old-timers have mentioned going down river and building a new bypass up a canyon to reconnect with the main highway as a possible option if we want to reduce our valley traffic situation. This needs honest consideration. Yes, it will be expensive, but if the local people start pushing for it, and our elected officials get on board, and work with the federal government and the state government, this could be a real solution. The Moab community needs this option, and all it takes is political will and thoughtful planning. If not that, then a less-expensive-more-expensive route along the rim needs to be built and somebody’s gonna lose a trailer.
Kelly Mike Green