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Rumble bumps music to reader’s ears

Rumble strips serve as a wake-up call for distracted drivers, and they are effective, according to the Colorado State Patrol.

Dear Action Line: We live near a state highway. A couple of months ago rumble bumps were installed down the middle of the road. Since that time, we have been constantly entertained by the “burp, burp, burp” of folks cruising the center line. Are people really that careless when driving? Or is this a new game where people can drive with eyes closed and follow the Braille bumps? – Bumps Giving Me the Goose Bumps.

Dear Bumps: The burping sounds you hear as people weave to and fro on the road are not from drivers playing a game, said Capt. Adrian Driscoll with the Colorado State Patrol.

Drivers who are distracted or drowsy hit the bumps, he said, and the two behaviors are very similar to driving while intoxicated. “Unfortunately, it is an issue throughout not only Southwest Colorado, but nationwide,” he said.

The State Patrol is paying troopers overtime so they can keep an eye on the areas prone to the burping behavior, but otherwise the rumble strips near your house are very effective, he said.

Like Colorado, New Mexico has also put devices in the road to try to keep drivers in the lane. Grooves cut into the asphalt of Route 66 just east of Albuquerque play “America the Beautiful.”

Lisa Schwantes, spokeswoman for the Colorado Department of Transportation, applauded New Mexico’s creativity, but said if it were up to her, the side-rumble strips would play “Everyday is a Winding Road” by Sheryl Crow.

Both songs are nice, but too calm. To really wake up drivers, grooves should be cut in the asphalt that play death metal.

Dear Action Line: I recently noticed that from the DoubleTree hotel to Elmore’s Corner everyone was doing at least 15 to 20 over the speed limit, and from the DoubleTree hotel west to Lightner Creek it was the same thing, as well as from the fairgrounds north. Why isn’t law enforcement giving speeding tickets? – Tired of Getting Dirty Looks for Driving the Speed Limit

Dear Limit: The driving behavior you witnessed was just the post-election pandemic freak-out by a wound-up electorate. People were zooming out of Durango to hide, or gloat, or scream, or to simply get away from the germy COVID-19 germs chasing them.

Speed limit, schmeed limit; drivers have some issues to work through.

Durango Police Chief Bob Brammer said much of the area you described is not in the city, but his officers do watch those spots for speeders, regardless.

In the meantime, you are to be congratulated for your Zen-like behavior of not driving like a maniac and reminding everyone that the speedsters are always caught at the next stop light anyway.

Dear Action Line: Durango Transit is running at 50% capacity to “prevent the spread or slow the spread of COVID,” but it’s unfair when people are denied a ride to work because there are more than five people on the bus. They call for a backup bus but this can make someone late, and using up more gas just to turn people away seems really uneconomical. What’s the logic behind this plan? – Bus Stopped.

Dear Stopped: The policy is in place fundamentally to ensure riders are safe, said Sarah Hill, the assistant director of transportation for the city of Durango.

“We look forward to being able to increase capacity on transit as soon as feasible,” she said, but rules from the state require all buses operate at 50% capacity unless passengers can keep 6 feet of social distance.

This translates into a maximum occupancy of five passengers for the loop buses and eight people for the trolley.

“Durango Transit has been operating at capacity limits since initial guidance was released in March,” she said. The city understands it’s an inconvenience, she said, but no passengers have been left stranded by the policy.

Dear Action Line: Why do we have “No parking from 2 a.m. to 8 a.m.” signs and “Stay off the bike path” signs if they are never enforced, as evidenced by the giant rundown RV and small car parked directly on the bike path by the Animas River? Why did I bother looking for a campsite all those times before I moved here if I could have camped right downtown on the river?! – Sign Stumped.

Dear Stumped: That RV has caught the attention of the city and the police department.

“We are collaborating with Code Enforcement to handle the RV and other vehicle issues,” said Police Chief Bob Brammer.

“We have ordinances which prohibit the actions and notices have been posted,” said Brammer.

The challenge with that RV is it has some mechanical problems. “No towing company will accept the removal,” he said.

Dear Action Line, We are obviously in a severe drought. How come the city hasn’t restricted water usage? – Julie

Dear Julie: Restrictions have not been implemented because they are not needed, said Jarrod Biggs, the city’s assistant utilities director.

“We do encourage wise water use and conservation, but our broad portfolio of very senior rights has allowed us to keep drawing water from both the Animas and Florida rivers as needed,” he said.

“When we do call for conservation, unlike many other water providers, we do not have a location to store those savings for another day – they would flow by us. Accordingly, our Drought Plan prescribes calling for restrictions only when the city does not have access to sufficient supply.”

Email questions and suggestions to actionline@durangoherald.com or mail them to Action Line, The Durango Herald, 1275 Main Ave., Durango, CO 81301. Action Line ... has got nothing pithy this week.

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