In August of this year, a local radio station, 850 KOA, conducted the "Bumper2Bumper" survey that asked Colorado taxpayers what they thought about their daily commuting. The survey covered all aspects of driving:
Time spent in traffic
Number of miles commuted daily
Phone use while driving
Substance use while driving
And of course … Public transport
I imagine that no matter where you live, there will always be complaints about moving around the city. Californians certainly fear driving through Los Angeles traffic! I can't tell you how many times my driving friends talk about how people don't know how to drive in the snow. Both arguments make me sigh in relief, I don't have to endure that crap.
There were three aspects of the survey where people overwhelmingly agreed with each other. The first is about driving to the mountains. According to 850 KOA, "84% say they have avoided using I-70 in the mountains on weekends due to traffic problems." 84% is huge! Another huge amount said that the roads needed some love and care. Winter definitely overcomes the roads that do not make it easier to reach a fun place, such as the mountains.
When I moved here from California, I expected to do a lot of snowboarding. Every winter, until I moved here, my family and I went to Big Bear, sometimes Mammoth, to spend a fun day skiing. We always went to the mountains as a family, so not being able to drive was never a problem. The beautiful mountains here in Colorado were one of the main motivations for choosing CU Boulder for college. I thought I would meet many people who enjoyed skiing and would go snowboarding every weekend.
The bedroom where I lived in the first year was full of introverts like me. After a month at school, the women in my apartment finally opened their doors and I met some of them. No one skied or was interested in learning how to do it. I decided to venture out and find a group of people who would be interested in going to the mountains to spend a fun day skiing. I found some people, but there were some strong arguments not to go to the mountains every weekend.
First, it is the first year! No one has a car on campus! To get to where the good snow is, you need one. Second, when I finally met people who liked to climb the mountains, they liked to miss school on Friday to beat the traffic there. I was Miss Goodie Two Shoes and I never wanted to miss class, so I missed my trip there.
I was quite discouraged by all that. The traffic to get to Big Bear was also a pain, so I could see the reasoning behind the complaints about i70. It seemed that if you make the trip there, you mind doing a weekend and finding a place to stay. Broke, college students can't afford a cabin for the weekend. I realized that getting to the mountains for a day was harder than I had anticipated before moving to Colorado.
Speaking of missing a trip to the mountains, the survey also said that "traffic is affecting our quality of life in Colorado: 44% say that an important event was lost due to traffic." Skiing is not as important as a business meeting or taking a flight outside of the day, but it is something I enjoy. Unfortunately, my circle of support that helps me with the rides doesn't want anything to do with the i70 on weekends during the ski season. Even in summer, traffic can be bad with weekend campers.
If skiers and guests don't want to deal with i70, RTD has a bus that goes to Eldora, a local resort 20 miles from Boulder. But there is literally that one bus that leaves only downtown Boulder. Eldora is a great mountain, I went on a ski trip with the Alumni Association. However, it is very similar to Big Bear. There are no local RTD bus routes to reach the big resorts; Breckenridge, Aspen, Arapahoe Basin, etc.
There is a private transportation company, Colorado Mountain Express, that can take you to these important tourist centers. The ferry picks up at DIA, the downtown convention center, or mid-mountain on I70 at Wooly Mammoth Park-n-Ride. Trips to these resorts can cost between $ 39 and $ 49. But get this! According to the survey, "82% said they never used public transport. A little more than 3% said they used transport once a week or more. More than 2% used transport every day."
There you go, Colorado is full of complainers! It's a joke. If we are working together to create less traffic, less pollution and better roads, public transportation needs some face lift. Instead of personally fighting the traffic of the i70 from a car, taking a comfortable bus to the mountains would definitely motivate more people to use the i70, get up early and spend all day skiing exhausting! If I am always the passenger and never the driver, I must say that it feels pretty good to take a little nap on the trip back home.
I guess the point I'm trying to make goes back to the old saying: "You can't always have your cake and eat it too." Having a car is much easier than trying to discover bus routes. But it could be the same reason why you can miss an event or choose to miss an event due to traffic and bad road conditions. The bus is available, the survey has just confirmed that nobody uses it.