EDITORíS DESK: Second thoughts on St. Vrain
Last issue I lauded City Council member Jerry Heimlicher for taking swift and firm action after Traffic Engineering summarily barricaded the long-time access between
18th and St Vrain streets.
This issue I'm not so sure. At the City Council meeting this week, Heimlicher displayed a stronger interest in his pet issue of "public process" than in actually obtaining the results that the great majority of that neighborhood clearly desires. As he well knows, the whole problem started when one resident complained to the city - apparently not even getting her facts straight regarding supposed accidents and illicit activity at that locale - and an overly prudent Traffic Engineering, aghast that such a safety hazard had been allowed to exist for oh, perhaps 120 years, slapped up the barricade without even consulting the other neighbors. One person. Last week Heimlicher found that outrageous, but at the meeting he insisted on keeping the barricade up indefinitely while the "public process" takes place. In other words, instead of the city having to prove the access should be blocked, the residents have to find a way to justify reopening it. I don't know if I like that sort of "process," especially when the city has so many resources and the residents so few. It reminds me of the Highway 24 "process," in which those who oppose tearing the Westside inside out are made to feel like party-crashers.
After the council meeting, Heimlicher clarified that the main reason for his stance was a city property survey, which reveals the intersection might be on private property. Well, you know what, Councilman, you could survey probably half the streets on the older Westside and find the same thing. But it's too late, now that you've opened that can of worms.
I agree with Councilman Tom Gallagher. Just open it back up. In the meantime, city staff can study maps and negotiate easements to their heart's content. Let the "public process" onus be on the government's back for a change - not the citizens'.