Constructive Criticism

OPINIONS: Staff Writer Anna Bock takes a look at Denver construction projects and their impacts across the city.

BEEEEEP! HOOOOONK! CRASH. The loud droning of car horns and their impatient drivers rings across the street, echoing off of nearby buildings and parking structures. During daily Denver commutes to school, to work, to visit friends— we’ve all noticed it. Traffic is out of control. “Road Work Ahead” signs and construction fences litter the sides of busy streets. Dented orange cones block through lanes and “Detour” signs aggravate the already-frustrated drivers who attempt a turn down closed streets.

People are growing impatient, in a world where immediate gratification is increasingly ubiquitous. The newest and fastest technologies alleviate the impatient minds of Americans wanting things–and wanting them now. Society tirelessly seeks to improve, renovate and modernize, construction’s presence is growing at a concerning rate. The United States’ Census Bureau estimated that over the span of seven years, construction spending rose by 416.4 billion dollars, from $814.2 billion in 2010 to $1230.6 billion in 2017. With such an increased dedication to city and state construction improvements comes numerous negative impacts. Construction zones wreak havoc, with their vast unpredictability, on the streets and highways used for daily commutes. The restricting speed limits, workers interacting in harrowingly close proximity to traffic and sudden route changes bring countless possibilities for danger. Among these possibilities are crashes, traffic jams and –above all– complete fits of driver frustration. And I’m talking tantrums: road rage, spilled travel mug coffee and absurd amounts of honking. Social etiquette rules seemingly diminish into irrelevance as emotional drivers navigate with one hand on the wheel and the other poised like a loaded cannon over the horn.

While improvements are important for the maintenance of a chic city vibe, the amount of projects taking place across our city is becoming downright excessive. Only accounting for the small, up-and-coming neighborhood of Cherry Creek North, seven major construction building projects were successfully completed in the year 2018. Still, the question remains: is it worth the endless traffic and road closures? These buildings and developments only lure more people to the city, where they’ll drive their cars and add to the rapidly deteriorating traffic conditions. Seems like an enormous snowball effect to me.

However, this isn’t to argue for a complete stop in construction. Simply, a slow in the roll of things, and a few less lane closures would greatly improve the situation. By decreasing the construction projects, there’s no doubt all commuters would rejoice. Imagine a day driving around town without the exhausting beeping and traffic jams. Now, imagine that day being everyday. Wouldn’t it be nice?