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Action Line: Gulch sidewalk paved with good intentions

Here are two questions about Goeglein Gulch. Why do bicyclists take over the sidewalk, especially when bike lanes were installed several years ago? Furthermore, why is a length of the sidewalk along Goeglein never, and I mean never, plowed during winter? We are forced to cross a dangerous road or trek over mounds from the snowplows. Sign me, “Concerned Citizen” writing from my apartment at Valle de Merced on Goeglein.

After slavishly crafting a bazillion columns o’er the ages, Action Line still cannot explain the behavioral habits of the species Durangotangus Bicyclus.

It’s a peculiar creature, fickle but social, demanding multimodal accommodations to be built yet shunning them once they are completed.

This is probably why pedestrian walkways are filled with bikes, forcing pedestrians into the bike lane.

This phenomenon, like many things in Durango, just doesn’t make sense.

Like fitness buffs who drive around the Rec Center parking lot to get a close-in parking spot. They don’t want to walk far to the indoor treadmill, on which they are training for a half marathon.

Contradictions aren’t limited to the uppity urbanites. Take all those pickup trucks. (Some would say “please.”)

What could be more American than the nation’s most-popular pickup, the Ford F-150? How about the Honda Odyssey, Honda Ridgeline, Honda Pilot and Acura MDX? Or a Chevy Volt?

All these vehicles scored higher in the annual Cars.com American-Made Index, which measures “which cars are manufactured in America, have the most American parts and support the most American factory jobs.” The F-150 came in ninth place.

Nevertheless, you will never hear “Honda” referred to as preferred mode of patriotic Western transportation.

Maybe at next year’s Cowboy Poetry Gathering, a progressive bard could note that “Volt” rhymes with “colt.”

Or something like this:

“When lame was my horse / It could have been worse. / So that’s why I’m fond-a / my trusty ol’ Honda.”

But that has nothing to do with plowing the Goeglein Gulch sidewalk.

So we made a “howdy pardner” call to our good friend Mike Somson, the city’s superintendent of streets, and found out something cosmopolitan about our rural town.

A 400-foot section of sidewalk uphill from the Valle de Merced apartments is actually in the county. Unlike the city, the county doesn’t require sidewalks to be shoveled. That’s because there are no sidewalks in the county. Except where the county meets city. Which is the case in Goeglein Gulch.

When the city made massive improvements to the road, it had the foresight to install the sidewalk on county land as a favor to the many pedestrians.

“It would have been really dumb to have the sidewalk end, then have 400 feet of dirt shoulder and then have the sidewalk begin again on the other side. So we installed continuous pavement,” Mike said.

In any case, the Goeglein sidewalk is mostly city land and municipal crews plow it when it snows.

Not that is snows anymore.

Regardless, Mike said he will make sure snow-removal teams include that stretch of county sidewalk.

And what vehicle does the city deploy to plow county snow? That would be a pickup truck and not a Honda or Acura.


From the Department of Shameless Promotion, you are invited to Action Line’s blusterous Bulb Talk prior to the Durango Botanical Society’s annual bulb sale this Saturday morning. Note a new site: the La Plata County Fairgrounds.

The horticultural hortation starts at 9 a.m., followed at 10 a.m. by a dash for daffys, alliums, tulips and other great stuff to be planted in fall for spring color. Info at DurangoBotanicalSociety.com

Email questions to actionline@durangoherald.com or mail them to Action Line, The Durango Herald, 1275 Main Ave., Durango, CO 81301. You can ask for anonymity if you know how to pronounce “Goeglein.”