Address issues despite option

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Chamber’s perspective on Trinity corridor study

The Los Alamos Chamber has been engaged on behalf of member and business interests throughout the most recent Trinity Drive study as well as through several prior related initiatives that have looked at the issues with this important route.  
Most recently, we worked with the county to be sure there would be good opportunities for the alternatives to be explained and business community input to be gathered.  I participated in many of those sessions and I want to offer a summary of observations from those sessions.
By the time of the business sessions, a variety of prior interactions had been established, according to the information provided by the county and consultants
, that alternative A had been receiving far more public support than other options.  
Although I know that there are business opinions about alternative A that run the gamut from “it would be awful” to “alternative A is the best,” the businesses that spent time on providing input at these sessions were not fixated on the various alternatives, nor were they fixated on whether there should be roundabouts or not.  
What I heard was that, regardless of which alternative is picked, there were several important bigger picture concerns.
First, throughput performance of the road and business access are critical concerns.  These were talked about in terms of the “perceptions of convenience” that would be experienced by people who might use the road.  
For instance, if the perceived convenience of someone contemplating using Trinity Drive is lower than what they perceive to be the convenience of using the truck route, they may well avoid Trinity Drive.  It won’t matter if we have an engineering calculation that says it isn’t less convenient.  
Likewise, if it is perceived to be inconvenient to access a business on Trinity Drive or in the commercial areas north of Trinity, that will work against them.  This is important regardless of the alternative chosen.
Next, it is important to recognize that the intersection of Trinity Drive and Central Avenue as well as the north-south streets that connect Trinity and Central (Knecht, 15th, 20th, Oppenheimer) are important access feeders to the businesses north of Trinity.  
This isn’t just about access to the businesses directly on Trinity Drive. There is a need to create strong visual cues — some call these “gateways” —  that help these two important streets to be well connected and coordinated in the minds of the people who use them.  
The need for well designed and comprehensive signage and wayfinding was often discussed as a related current problem that has been neglected for too long. This is important regardless of the alternative pursued.
Safety was part of the discussion and my impression is that businesses agree that solutions that will decrease accidents and improve safety are of high interest.
Another big picture concern that was often discussed in these meetings was the ugliness of the current look of Trinity Drive and the extent to which Trinity provides a poor environment for pedestrians and creates a barrier for pedestrians between two important areas of our downtown.
This is an important problem to address regardless of the alternative pursued.
I think that the county’s project people and consultants will agree.  Our members and other businesses have provided thoughtful and important input to their process.  
I am hopeful that the county will give priority to this input, apply it to whatever alternative is chosen, and work toward improvements that address the concerns, even in advance of major overhaul work on the Trinity corridor.

Kevin Holsapple
Executive Director
Los Alamos Chamber
 of Commerce