In regard to the letter to the editor “Historic perspective” on the Conrad Drive/Woodland Avenue intersection. The writer says the solution to the Montana Department of Transportation’s concerns would be to install a stop sign at the top of the grade, requiring uphill traffic to come to a halt. This would be the worst possible solution.
The writer claims that snow removal has improved vastly over the decades and cars would not become stalled on the icy hill. Snow removal may have improved but the snow (not to mention the ice) could not possibly be removed often enough to put a dent in the cars and trucks that would be incapacitated if only one car had to stop at the top of the hill.
There is a solution which would cost pennies: Put a border of flashing lights around the existing signs cautioning the other approaches to this intersection that the uphill traffic does not stop. A roundabout will cause havoc.
—Steven Williams, Kalispell
Cap Sun Road traffic
Glacier National Park and more appropriately the National Park Service seems hell-bent on ruining the visitor experience on the Going-to-the-Sun Road. This historic and magnificent road no longer provides for a pleasant national park experience at the peak of the summer. It’s time the NPS set a daily or hourly cap on vehicle number in order to protect the road and park resources “unimpaired for the enjoyment of future generations.”
Every local knows that at the peak of the tourist season (the best time to visit Glacier) you’d be better off staying far away from the Sun Road. It’s a 50-mile traffic slugfest.
You’re lucky to get a parking place at Logan Pass. All the parking places and trails from Apgar to St. Marys are full and overflowing with people. The shuttles are full and wait times stretch into hours. You can’t escape the sight or sound of people along the spectacular Highline Trail.
Bottom line, visitor numbers along the corridor have degraded the visitor experience and park resources, and it’s going to get worse.
Enter the National Park Service’s proposal to fix the problem. The “Going-to-the-Sun Road Corridor Management Plan Environmental Assessment” proposes to shoe-horn more people into parking lots by “re-striping” and adding more parking places, paving the Avalanche Lake trailhead, and turning the Highline Trail into a one-way foot traffic lane, among other fixes. All with absolutely no assurance of funding.
While these and other proposals might cram in more people, and squeeze more cars into places like Logan Pass, the net effect will be to simply compress more people into places already seeing the impacts of too many people.
The proposed plan isn’t a plan at all. It’s a put-off-for-tomorrow-what should-be-decided-today excuse. Shame on the National Park Service.
With so many Americans concerned about government spending, this is one place where America can improve things by spending less. There’s a much less expensive solution than spending millions on new infrastructure and perennial management costs.
Put a cap on it! Glacier National Park has yet to determine the “carrying capacity” of the Sun Road corridor. That is, what’s the limit on number of cars and people that will restore the visitor experience, protect wildlife, and reverse the wear and tear on park resources?
It’s time the National Park Service addressed the core problem, and proposed a reasonable cap on the number of vesicles on an hourly or daily basis. Simple. And everyone will benefit.
—Roger Sherman, Whitefish
A third option
More often than not, tax cuts lead to an increase in tax revenues. This has been true both in America and abroad. The Tax Cut and Jobs Act of 2017 was passed a couple of years ago; and as predicted, the IRS collected 4% more in taxes in 2019 than it did in 2018.
Our $23 trillion national debt is not a collection problem; it is a spending problem. The federal government spends more than it collects, but if it attempts to collect too much, it will experience a reduction in collected revenues. The Republicans can take credit for increasing revenue collection, but they share culpability with Democrats for our profligate spending. The current lineup of Democratic presidential hopefuls promises to use the force of their elected authority to increase spending and reduce revenue collection (through higher taxes). With that said, our president has proven he supports higher revenue collection (lower taxes) but even higher spending, which leads to perpetual deficits.
We need a third option: higher revenue collection (through optimally low taxes) and reduced spending. Unfortunately, this third option depends entirely on voters not falling victim at election time to charlatans who promise it is possible to achieve prosperity through higher taxes on others while enjoying higher spending on them themselves.
—Joe Coco, Whitefish
Will do my best
A big thanks to the Democratic Central Committee and the Flathead County Commissioners for giving me the opportunity to serve the people of House District 3 (Columbia Falls, North Fork and Canyon communities) as their representative in the Montana House of Representatives. I am honored to have this leadership role and will do my best to represent all of the people in my district.
—Debo Powers, Polebridge