Growing pains in Den­ver? It’s all rel­a­tive

The Denver Post - - NEWS - By Greg Dobbs Greg Dobbs of Ever­green is an au­thor, pub­lic speaker, and for­mer for­eign cor­re­spon­dent for ABC News.

Colorado has one of the high­est growth rates of new res­i­dents of any state. This was re­ported re­cently in The Den­ver Post.

My first re­ac­tion to reading this was, no­body has to tell us.

We feel it ev­ery time we’re caught in growing gridlock, or per­turbed down­town by the price of park­ing. We sense it in long lines and crush­ing crowds and the colos­sal cranes that are up­rais­ing the sky­line of the Mile High City.

But then I re­mem­bered what I told Den­ver’s City Club 30 years ago when, as a new network cor­re­spon­dent based here, I was asked to speak to the ques­tion, “How can Den­ver rise above its im­age as a cow town?”

The gist of my an­swer was: Be care­ful what you wish for.

Sure, when we grow, we groan, but that just makes us like ev­ery­one else. What makes us dif­fer­ent is, rel­a­tive to al­most ev­ery­one else, we’re lucky, and that was af­firmed last March when U.S. News & World Re­port rated Den­ver not just as “one of the best” 100 ci­ties in Amer­ica, but as “the best.” Pe­riod.

Which I con­firmed last month when I made three trips to San Fran­cisco and one to New York City. You think it’s tough to drive through down­town Den­ver on a Fri­day night? Try 20 min­utes to move a mere four blocks late one week­day morn­ing in San Fran­cisco. You ob­ject to pay­ing as much as $50 to park all day in Den­ver (and that’s at the RitzCarl­ton Ho­tel, the costli­est I could find)? Try $68 in San Fran­cisco, and that was for a mere three hours. In New York, though, that’s cheap: you can spend $90 just to park for the day.

Are you frus­trated by the toll lanes on In­ter­state 25 and In­ter­state 70, with more tolls to come? Re­mem­ber, you’re not com­pelled to pay; you can stay in the free lanes if you choose. But try driv­ing across the Golden Gate Bridge: $7.50 for ev­ery round trip. And it’s $6 for ev­ery round trip to Oak­land. And that’s less than what you can pay if you’re driv­ing, as I did, from Man­hat­tan to Mas­sachusetts: you can pay two tolls just to get out of New York and one more to get back.

Then there’s crime. We’re far from crime-free in Colorado, but while the vi­o­lent crime rate in New York City — about 600 in­ci­dents per 100,000 peo­ple — is equal to Den­ver’s, it’s al­most 800 in­ci­dents in San Fran­cisco. I was warned not to leave so much as sun­glasses show­ing in­side my locked car, or all I’d find when I got back would be bro­ken glass.

New York makes claim to the moun­tains we hold dear, ex­cept theirs are moun­tains of garbage bags. They just can’t col­lect them fast enough for side­walks to be clear for a day.

But I saved the best for last. The av­er­age one-bed­room apart­ment in Man­hat­tan is $3,400 and al­most $3,600 in San Fran­cisco. It’s $1,365 here.

We’ve got it good. And no­body should have to tell us.

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