No time for apathy
highway the length of the Wood River Valley has the potential to affect
life here for the betteróor worse. Which it will be depends on how many
people help identify areas of concern along the highway by showing up to
offer their advice on April 16.
a.m. to 7 p.m. that day, representatives of the consulting company Parsons
Brinckerhoff and the Idaho Transportation Department will ask the public
to mark maps and list concerns about future highway development at the Old
County Courthouse in Hailey.
important that residents participate. Sacrifice of a lunch hour or some
time before or after work is a small price to pay to avoid a poorly
planned highway that will affect the day-to-day life of every person in
to assume that professional engineers will think of everything, but they
wonít. Highway planners canít apply design remedies to problems if
they donít know they exist. They arenít mind readers. They canít
understand the valleyís culture if someone doesnít explain it.
engineers donít know the valleyóits idiosyncrasies, sensitive areas
and use patternsólike the people who live here. If someone doesnít
paint them a picture, they are likely to plunk down an off-the-shelf,
one-size-fits-all design for a new highway.
River Valley is not just any old place. It deserves more than a bleak
generic industrial-style highway. It needs smart highway improvements that
make travel safe but donít destroy neighborhoods, river access points,
the valleyís bike/pedestrian path experience, wildlife and sheep
migration routes or valley vistas.
This is no
time for valley residents to be apathetic or to assume that someone else
will take care of their concerns. Itís time to make the effort to be
part of the process.
The ITD is
doing the right thing by opening the door to public comment and
suggestions. Itís right to get concerns on the table before the
engineers fire up their computers and issue finished designs.
to residents to take advantage of the opportunity to try to produce a
highway that will add to valley life, not hurt it.