Urge approval of 32nd St. bridge

To the editor,

Please call the Durango mayor @ 970-749-6477 to insist that the City Council fund in the 2020 budget the bridge for pedestrian and bike safety to finish the Animas River Trail North.

The long-planned bridge across the river is designed to protect the public from car and pedestrian interaction at 32nd Street at grade level. Since 2011, Council has always planned for public safety with no grade-level crossings at 32nd Street, which is the second busiest street in the city until NOW!

The Multi Modal Board supported the bridge in an email to Council to avoid at-grade crossing on the Animas River Trail North, writing “The pedestrian bridge remains vital to the spirit and intent of the ART and the safety of our citizens.”

AARP in a recent article stated, “The number of pedestrians killed by vehicles rose 35 percent in the past decade – and the death rate is almost twice as high for people over 75.”

In a grant request signed by City Councilor Kim Baxter to Greater Outdoor Colorado, it stated the Animas River Trail is needed for connectivity and will allow for increased pedestrian and bike accessibility and safety. Increasing safety concerns were articulated in the grant with the bridge. The city received $1.3 million from GOCO and stands to lose a minimum of $500,000 if the bridge is eliminated.

Small children, parents with strollers, and dogs and families without the bridge will be in danger. The public will leave a 10-foot-wide sidewalk at Memorial Park to walk across a 5-foot-wide existing sidewalk on the 32nd Street Bridge to arrive at the ART North. This is unacceptable because the volume on the trail will increase once the North

trail opens. There will always be Parks and Rec projects that need money. It is unwise to rob Peter to pay Paul and place pedestrians in danger by not funding the bridge.

Mollie Shine rode her bike on 32nd Street and was killed by a vehicle decades ago. How much is a child’s life worth? Priceless is my answer.

Call the mayor by September to protect the public by funding the bridge in the 2020 City Council budget!

– Sweetie Marbury, Durango