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The Uncle NIMBY syndrome


I know a guy who lives in West Arvada between Indiana and Highway 93. Every time I see him – let’s call him Uncle Nimby – I get to hear about how “they’re trying to force C470 through the neighborhood.”

He exaggerates a bit. It’s three miles away.

Usually, he’s happy because some recent study proved they can’t pave without plumes of radioactive dust killing us all; or because some group just bought a parcel to block construction.

“It’s more about the safety of the environment than stopping the road,” he says.  Funny how conscious of the enviornment people get when they own a house with a view.

Remember when US 85 was the only North/South road through Colorado? Neither do I, but it used to be. To get to the Springs, you’d have to buggy through Littleton and Sedalia.

If you and I weren’t here, they might not need I-25, but I was born and so were you and a million like us. And now, we have an Interstate running through our backyard.

That’s the price of progress: More people need more roads. And when they put in I-25, they paved over the homesteads and farms that Easterners invented to ‘get away from it all.’ Unfortunate for the homesteaders, of course, but imagine life today without I-25.

Denver used to be a one-lane town, but those days are long gone. We live in the biggest city for 1,000 miles. That’s like making Paris the only city in western Europe. In fact, if Denver is Paris, then Chicago’s in Kiev. And big cities – commercial hubs – have an obligation to be accessible.

Denver keeps attracting new business and more people. That’s good for us all. But to get around, and for the sake of commerce, we need a ring road. We need 470 to girdle Denver.

The good news is that the prairie won’t be lost. We still have a ton of it out East, not to mention Wyoming. Wyoming is lousy with prairie.

All we’re really losing is a couple of hundred Uncle-Nimbys’ worth of "My Blue Heaven."

Old Man Smith or someone once lived where I-25 and Meadows Parkway is now, and every day, we wheel over the house he and the wife built back in ought-four. But it had to go. I regret his loss; however, this Denver might not exist if we hadn’t built that Interstate.

It’ll come eventually, the ring road; it’s as inevitable as traffic and taxes. Meanwhile, the lawsuits and stalling serve only to cost the rest of us actual dollars in court, and future dollars in difficulty of commerce. And all because you want your house (and the one four feet away from yours) to have that ‘rural’ feel you imagine it has.

Uncle Nimby drives a car – an SUV, actually. And he eats food and buys things, all of which come into town on trucks. His life revolves around the highways, yet he doesn’t believe in this one "because of the environment."

Yeah, right.

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David Sneed

David Sneed is the owner of Alpine Fence Company and the author of" Everyone Has A Boss; The Two Hour Guide to Being the Most Valuable Employee at Any Company. As a Marine, father, employee and boss, David has learned how to help others succeed. He teaches the benefits of a strong work ethic to entry and mid-level employees. Contact him at  David@EveryoneHasABoss.com

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