- Special Sections
- Public Notices
Regarding the West Jemez Road Bypass (WJB), your article quoted LANL Traffic Engineer and Transportation Board member Trask as saying, “if we are going to spend money at all, then we should do it correctly.”
Nothing could be more accurate. How incorrect it would be to spend vast sums of resident tax dollars for an expensive and unneeded long stretch of asphalt right along the edge of Los Alamos Canyon. Los Alamos County needs to get beyond the anger of DOE constructing the “toll booths” and make our own future.
The stated project goals of WJB are to 1) provide an improved evacuation route, 2) provide unrestricted access to the ski hill and Jemez and 3) stimulate tourism. Minor improvements to West Road provide for these goals and do so in a far superior manner than WJB. As an example, West Road provides an evacuation route that doesn’t require Omega Bridge and it avoids the already difficult intersection at Diamond Drive and Jemez Road.
West Road is no more steep than the proposed WJB and much less steep than Camp May Road or the road to the Jemez. Finally, West Road provides a far more inviting experience to county tourists, especially after the LA Reservoir is restored. Meanwhile, WJB would be a massive scar on the canyon wall and destroy existing trails. The proposed double-T intersection would add yet another signal and further congestion to Diamond Drive. WJB would provide a serious safety concern as motorists speed down a 9-percent grade heading into that congestion. Even if money were no concern at all, WJB is a bad idea.
The transportation board needs to view its full scope and should not function as the “Asphalt Board” or the “Automotive Board.”
County council needs to see that the future of Los Alamos is its natural beauty, simple and easy-to-use public transportation, pleasant walkways and bike paths, beautiful parks and recreation possibilities, a walkable and loveable downtown, and a gateway to Bandelier. These are our future. Let’s go there.