May: Patience Wears Thin On Downtown Disruptions
From the blur of conversations, meetings and news stories since I wrote last, I offer a potpourri of observations:
•Is the city of Fort Collins being too tolerant of bad behavior in the greater downtown area?
Some businesspeople I’ve spoken with think so. Over the past couple of years the harassment of businesses and shoppers, panhandling, loitering, and property damage are up. It is being attributed to a collection of people known as “travelers.” These are not locals who have lost their homes. Rather, many travelers are homeless by choice and live off of whatever town suits them and tolerates their behavior.
Our community is still trying to sort out where to draw the line between compassion and permissiveness. In the meantime, patience is wearing thin.
•An example of where we don’t want to end up is the story a friend told me about her trip to San Francisco this summer. While wandering along Fisherman’s Wharf in the middle of the day “A guy just dropped trou” and defecated on the sidewalk.
It’s hard to imagine that being tolerated in Fort Collins, but at one time that was also true in San Fran. As we figure out the compassion-permissiveness issue, let’s all agree that that is not acceptable now or ever.
•Regarding a couple of recent stories concerning state transportation funding, I noticed one commenter’s remarks: “The governor and (Colorado Department of Transportation) have found $60 million for bike programs and $150 million for new CDOT buildings but don’t have money to widen north Interstate 25. Pretty tone deaf, don’t you think? Talk about misplaced priorities.”
Unfortunately, you’ll have plenty of time to ponder that as you sit on I-25 between Fort Collins and Loveland. To the governor and CDOT: You have friends out here like the Fix North I-25 Business Alliance trying to help you identify funding options for the state’s highway system. This kind of stuff is not helpful.
•Alright, enough with the cranky topics! On a happier note, hats off to the Coloradoan for bringing Peyton Manning to town next May for their new Northern Colorado Sports Awards program. The program will honor area high school athletes.
•Hewlett-Packard is here to stay.
Earlier this year HP announced that it was splitting into HP, Inc., and Hewlett-Packard Enterprise. HP will focus on personal computers and printers, while Hewlett-Packard Enterprise will sell business software, servers, networking and data storage-equipment and consulting services.
Last month came the announcement that 25,000 to 30,000 jobs would be cut worldwide. HP insiders are now saying those cuts will not impact Fort Collins.
•The Mulberry Street bridge over the Poudre River will be open for two-way traffic this month, with the final flourishes being completed in November. The new bridge will be almost twice as wide and accommodate foot and bike traffic.
The closure of eastbound Mulberry at the bridge since late last summer has clogged up traffic in that area of town, but the end is near. On this one, kudos to CDOT.
Enjoy this wonderful fall!
Column originally posted in Fort Collins Coloradoan October 1, 2015.