Monday, July 11, 2011

The Day My Neighborhood Changed - Forever??

Like a passenger on a ship looking at the wake the ship has caused in the ocean, examining past events through the eyes of the present can be deceiving.  As the ship passes through the ocean, it's wake spreads out further and further so that the exact point the ship traveled through can become hard to determine.  Much is the same of the examination of the past.

I speak of this in somewhat personal tones as an event that will have major ramifications on my little piece of paradise in this world is about to occur.  There is actually a countdown clock on the web that points to precisely when this significant event will happen.  At this exact moment as I write, the countdown clock stands at 15 days, 11 hours, 49 minutes and some odd seconds.  You can view this countdown clock too at:

By the web address above I have removed all mystery from this blog post.  Yes - I am speaking of one of the greatest events in the history of Colorado - the opening of the IKEA store in Centennial. I am joking about the significance of the event of course, but not the impact upon my neighborhood of Willow Creek. The store is located about 1/2 of a mile as the crow flies directly east of my home.  It is perhaps one of the largest single retailer stores that I have ever seen built in my life.

Like the ship passing through the ocean, looking back through the lens of today at the events of the past I find my eagerness that I felt for this new store hard to follow!  When the store was first announced in August of 2008 I was really quite excited about it.  I have a lot of fond memories of IKEA from when I lived back in Pittsburgh as my first apartment was pretty much furnished exclusively with IKEA stuff.  I still have a bunch of their bookshelves in my house. So it is pretty hard to see the journey my opinion has been on regarding IKEA since that day back in August of 2008 when the store was announced.

My problem with the situation is I fear IKEA and the government of Centennial have done a woeful job preparing for the crush of traffic that is shortly to descend upon this new store.  Unlike in other cities where completely separate interstate exits have been built for an IKEA store, literally nothing has been done to prepare our 2 lane roads for the additional hundreds of thousands of cars that will travel to the new store each year.

As a result of this lack of preparation I believe that all the streets that surround my neighborhood are essentially going to become gridlocked and impassable - particularly during the first several months of the store's opening.  I am dumbfounded and amazed that so little has been done to prepare the physical infrastructure for this massive change that is coming our way.

So what is to be done?  My hope is that very rapidly after IKEA's opening, the problem will become apparent to IKEA leadership and our city government.  At which time a crash course to add lanes to Yosemite, County Line, Dry Creek and Chester will be undertaken as it will be the only way shoppers will return to the store.  In the end run I think we will probably suffer through at least a year of major traffic issues before things get sorted out.  But what really surprises me the most is that this potential problem wasn't caught in the planning stages.  I am not a traffic engineer so I could be totally off my rocker, but I would estimate given the size of the store it was built to accommodate at least 3/4 of million customers per year.  Which - how do you add that many more cars to the streets around us without significant changes?  I guess I will just have to see how it plays out and hope that I am dead wrong!

I know the weather has been the topic of much discussion throughout the nation this week with the severely high temperatures scorching the south and mid section of the country.  Fortunately we haven't had those kind of temperatures here in Colorado.  But instead we have had rain, rain and even more rain.  Needless to say it would be great if things did dry out and get warm here as I am really sick of the rain.  This seems to be an opinion shared by many Coloradans at this time.

Our day was exceedingly uneventful!  For me it was all about work.  My division within my company is going through a major reorganization and there are many questions as to where my little world should be placed.  There continues to a back and forward between my current boss and others.  Regardless of where I end up, this reorganization is going to have some major impact upon my life as my responsibilities are going to become much broader.  In my almost 10 years with IBM, I have been through 6 major reorganizations, but this is the first that will really touch me personally in terms of my daily roles and responsibilities.

Zack got to go the natural history museum with one of his friends today.  That was big thing for him and he was quite excited about it.  That kept him occupied and quite happy.  He only has a few more free days this summer (except for weekends) in which he doesn't have camps or other activities planned.

My big thing for the day...  I discovered one more wine I really like.  I am in the habit of having several bottles of wine per week and I find it interesting to discover new and exciting tastes.  The wine I found this evening is a Malbec produced by Cupcake Vineyards.  It is a moderately priced wine and has a huge amount of favor.  I am somewhat of a Malbec snob these days and this wine definitely fits the bill as a superior example of a Malbec.  But I will admit one key thing - drinking a bottle of wine by yourself sucks.  It is so much better to have that partner to share it with!  But that is life for now - me and bottles of wine by myself!

I hope everyone survived their Monday's.  Hopefully it was a pretty good day for everyone!

Thanks and peace to all! ~J.


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