Thanksgiving Follow-up

1 Dec

Before Thanksgiving I wrote about biking past the varied industrial uses along the Platte River Trail northeast of downtown Denver.  That area has generated some news – not the good kind – this week, for those of you who don’t live in the metro area. A plume of some type of oil has appeared in the Sand Creek, which is a tributary off of the Platte River.  So far none of the “gunk” has made it to the Platte River, but beyond coming from somewhere at the Suncor Refinery, Suncor and EPA officials are unsure of the source.

Since this news item doesn’t really relate to biking beyond the fact that I went past that area, I will use little space to write about this.  However, I did want to highlight that pretty much every type of infrastructure has their downsides, in this case water pollution.  I don’t have any good answers off-hand to dealing with this issue, but would like to point out the regulatory nature of my eventual profession: planning.  The refinery is in this location for a number of reasons:  required land area, access to infrastructure (pipelines, highways, railways), and lack of residents in the area.  That part is a good thing, and zoning is what keeps those uses separate.  The downside is that the refinery is also right next to the Sand Creek, which may even be for a very good reason (though I don’t know this for sure).  So this situation could be worse, but it could also be much better too, considering that the Platte River is a drinking water source for some of the metro area.  What may look good at the time can end up being very bad later on due to unforeseen circumstances.  For me, that is a stark reminder of my eventual responsibility as a planner, and to measure 10 times, then cut once.

Well, sorry for lack of bikes here; I will get back into that hopefully tomorrow.  I’ll continue this experiment of blogging about cycling and planning, and see how awkward it gets before I have to pick more of a direction!

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