By on June 3, 2015

DISSTongueRoad warriors

This is exactly how sprawl happens. Idaho Falls probably didn’t set out to become Idaho Falls in 1891. But citizens are always wanting stuff, especially an easier drive. We don’t want to see or be in traffic. When traffic happens, our solutions are more roads instead of less people.

It’s not fun when your 12-minute run to drop off the kids at school becomes a 30-minute stop-and-start because you get stuck behind the “keeper of the speed” — who maintains a prudent and mind-numbing two-miles-per-hour-below-the-speed-limit pace. If not her, there’s the tourist who’s busy reading the town and county’s five million road signs — “Hands Free,” “No Jake Brakes,” “35 mph,” “25 mph in construction zone,” “End of Construction,” “Wildlife in Area,” “Bridge May Be Slippery,” “Bump,” “Slow, Children at Play,” “Slow at Night,” “Slow, Slow, Slow.”

Clogged roads are the cost of doing business when you are a tourist town currently crushing it in sales tax revenue. Building more roads to ease a headache or two for July and August is not the answer. The Tribal Trails connector road will require a stoplight on Highway 22, further slowing that congested two-lane. The posted speed limit on Highway 22 will correspondingly be lowered to 45 mph all year round.

The argument that motorists will only use it to get to and from the schools doesn’t wash. Everyone coming from the south headed for the west bank will look to avoid the dreaded “Y” and vice-versa.

What’s more needed than a cutoff for north to west flow is a north bridge over the Snake that would usher traffic out of Gros Ventre Junction. Bar-B-Bar and Fairways Estates residents beware: The county is coming for you next to allow your neighborhood roads to become commuter corridors. The north bridge idea hasn’t come up recently in political campaigns but expect at least one elected official to take a temperature on the idea soon.

And, finally, the number of aggravated drivers perplexed by the Skyline tunnel project has grown to approximately “everyone who doesn’t live in Skyline.” How many residents in that subdivision include kids that need to access a bike path at the middle of the busiest two-lane highway in the state? How many 8-year-olds will be using the tunnel to jump on the Pathway to trike 2.2 miles into town for cigarettes and a loaf of bread?

That’s $2 million for about 90 lots. Lots that include homes belonging to people from California (nine), Texas (six), Louisiana, Nebraska, Illinois, Rhode Island, New York, Washington, Canada and London, England. How many of those real estate tycoons will be biking out of Skyline? And this project will be our nightmare all summer. It’s scheduled for completion in October — right when everyone goes back to where they came from.

The “Stop the Tribal Trails Connector Road” online petition has garnered 175 signatures.


PROPSFistbumpSoc’ing it to ‘em

For a ski town, we sure are good at soccer. The boys and girls soccer teams dominated play last weekend in Jackson as both squads secured 3A state titles.

The Lady Broncs served up their usual home cooking recipe of a suffocating defense and Rachel Fairbanks. The Lady Broncs’ centerbacks and sweeper didn’t allow goalkeeper Paige Asbell to see much in the way of dangerous scoring chances, taking away opponents’ scoring opportunities with keen anticipation and aggressive play. When all else fails for the black-and-orange, lob it long and let Fairbanks track it down. That was the key to their offensive success all year long.

Coach Tom Ralston had high praise for his team’s top-ranked defense (only nine goals surrendered in 17 games). “Goal scorers get the glory, but defense wins championships,” he said. Ralston also expressed satisfaction on the girls’ behalf for their avenging of a 4-0 opening season loss to Star Valley with a 1-0 victory over the Lady Braves on Saturday for the crown.

“This championship was won on hard work, dedication, and love for their teammates,” Ralston added. “If those lessons stay with them for life, our coaching staff has done its job regardless of wins or losses.”

Boys’ coach Tom Bresnehan returned from a hasty firing last year to lead the Broncs to another stellar season. The boy’s team finished the year 17-1 after going unbeaten last season. Junior Tristan Wagner led the way during championship weekend, pacing the Broncs with his five-goal production. It was Jackson’s third state title. The Lady Broncs finished 2015 with a record of 15-1-2.



The Teton Raptor Center is making monumental additions to its staff, hiring an ecologist, a communications director and two field biologists, while also adding two new board members.

Bryan Bedrosian steps in as the center’s senior avian ecologist, adding a research aspect to TRC. Bedrosian brings his 15 years of birdman experience from Craighead Beringia South. He’s bringing along fellow workmates and field biologists Beth Mendelsohn and Katherine Gura. Davis Watson is the center’s new director of development and communications. Watson was previously at the Teton Science Schools.

TRC Ambassador Lisa Frieseck and former intern Carrie Ann Adams both received promotions for the summer season. TRC also added two new members to its board of directors. Katrina Ryan and David Hoster round out the center’s nine-person board. 


About Jake Nichols

Jake is a work in progress.


  1. Shane Rothman

    June 3, 2015 at 10:15 pm

    I fully agree with the diss of the transportation plans. Tribal Trails connector and adding another stoplight on 22 are bad ideas. A North Bridge is already long overdue and would obviously lessen impacts to the Park and help reduce traffic at the Y and elsewhere.

  2. bb

    June 4, 2015 at 6:48 am

    A) Jake’s correct: “our solutions are more roads instead of less people” but the Earth won’t stop turning and less people is not what Jackson voted for with the Lodging Tax – and with or without it, traffic will still increase.

    B) Bunch of NIMBY’s on Tribal Trails. Wildly over-exaggerated claims of horrors. It’s all about property values and views. They want to be a Gated Community. A road can be designed to address safety & wildlife needs.

    I’d like to see a stop light at the Science School. That junction is truly dangerous and needs a stop light or traffic tunnel.

    C) When Kristen Karn died on Aug. 11, 2010 at Brown’s Curve, the entire highway was shut down and cars were rerouted to GTNP and Fall Creek. A north bridge is a good backup but it’s not on anyone’s agenda and won’t be. Of course, the county refused to force open Indian Springs.

  3. Henry Whinerstein

    June 4, 2015 at 10:21 am

    Certainly an underpass clover leaf configuration could be designed so that a stop lite would not have to be added to 22 ? Traffic problems are not going away or solving themselves so our community should finish the Indian trails connector like it was originally designed

  4. Crusty Monkey

    June 4, 2015 at 5:21 pm

    I am that ““keeper of the speed” — who maintains a prudent and mind-numbing two-miles-per-hour-below-the-speed-limit pace”. Something tells me that even going the speed limit would not appease you, though it would only save you two minutes if you drove to the village from town at an average speed of 45 mph. More to the point, I drive the speed limit not just to avoid tickets, but out of respect for those who live along roads where speeders make it difficult and unsafe to pull out into traffic from side streets and driveways. I also do it as my braking distance is greatly reduced, preventing avoidable road kills which put us all in a foul mood. So please, keep speeding, but don’t blame your lack of patience and inability to adapt to change on those of us who are a bit more community minded.

  5. verv

    June 4, 2015 at 7:43 pm

    And don’t forget that the political leaders just ‘expanded’ the lodging overlay after reducing it. You can expect more low paying jobs and the need for more low-income housing.

  6. verv

    June 4, 2015 at 7:46 pm

    Happy to be behind you. Not happy to be behind the idiots who speed up in passing zones and slow down in no passing zones. LOVE TO KILL THOSE PEOPLE – usually driving a motor home.

  7. 22

    June 5, 2015 at 8:07 am

    Sounds like we need more slow drivers to keep homicidal maniacs like verv in check. Too bad the dmv gives licenses to anyone regardless of their psychological condition. The motor vehicle kills over a million people a year so on the plus side it has desensitized us to death when the maniacs fullfill their desires.

  8. KILL the slow drivers

    June 6, 2015 at 7:27 pm

    Perhaps you’re over-sensitized to death. It’s a natural part of life.

    1.14 deaths per 100 million vehicle miles traveled doesn’t bother me. Seems reasonable. More people die skiing in Jackson than in car accidents. Perhaps we should get rid of skiing.

    As for people who purposely try to aggravate other drivers, they should be burned alive. Their psychological condition is the one that needs examined. The ones who can’t put down a cell phone and end up driving 25 mph under the limit because of their inattention should be shot. Perhaps 22 falls into one of these categories.

    Check out the leading causes of PREVENTABLE death:

    CAUSE & Number of deaths resulting (millions per year)

    Hypertension 7.8
    Smoking tobacco 5.0
    Malnutrition 3.8
    Sexually transmitted diseases 3.0
    Poor diet 2.8
    Overweight and obesity 2.5
    Physical inactivity 2.0
    Alcohol 1.9
    Indoor air pollution from solid fuels 1.8
    Unsafe water and poor sanitation 1.6

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