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Yes to pickleball, Snowdown and more dining, fewer autos

Three issues that deserve brief commentary:

It is encouraging to have Durango’s City Council and staff put effort into considering where pickleball courts could be constructed, after play was halted with little notice last summer at Needham Elementary and at Durango High School.

The whack, whack, whack of the ball is too noisy, neighbors told the city’s recreation and parks’ department.

The city does have possible locations, but whether they will be embraced by those neighbors is a question. And any new courts, wherever they are located, must be a year away. Planning, bid solicitation and construction take time.

There ought to be a way to continue pickleball play at the two schools. Reduce hours to 5 or 6 p.m., for example. And there may be sound barriers that can be hung from the court fencing. That would require periodic maintenance, and handing, but tennis court nets are put in place, and removed.

Seniors or almost seniors are whom we are thinking about. Pickleball is an ideal exercise, and competitive, for those who want to continue moving but not move too much. An excellent step down from tennis.

Let’s do what we can to return to having some play at Needham and at the High School (and at Mason?) while identifying new locations and construction takes place. And we may discover that neighborhoods can live with limited, and maybe subdued, noise.

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We’re glad to hear that Snowdown’s organizers are making this year’s event a go.

A couple of indoor components that are always tightly packed, Do’s and Don’t is one, La Plata Open Space Conservancy’s social hour another, have been canceled. That’s appropriate.

But less crowded indoor activities will likely be held, and any outdoor events are little problem.

Snowdown’s organizers have always been a creative bunch, and we expect they’ll make this year’s event – even if it’s smaller – a fun time.

Wednesday, Jan. 26 through Sunday, the 30th. Be vaccinated to the hilt or have been tested within five days. A wristband will indicate you’re as safe as can be, but distance is always a good idea.

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After two years, the virus looks to be with us to varying degrees in whatever variants and the best we can do is to live with it, safely. Emphasis on safely.

With Durango City Council allowing restaurants with a parking lot to devote a portion to patio space, we see another step in making Durango’s appeal in this narrow river valley more usable to more people. Restaurants won’t be required to convert a portion of their parking – and owners are certain to weigh the importance of parking versus patio space – but making either use possible (33% or 45%, depending) makes it possible to better use limited square footage.

We like the idea, which will mostly benefit north Main Avenue restaurants.

We have been using designated bike lanes in the city’s core, and in the recent two years have seen downtown through traffic reduced and some parking become bump-out spaces. Now add to that flexible restaurant parking lots.

That the automobile is losing its dominance at the same time populations are increasing couldn’t be occurring at a better time.