SUMMIT COUNTY, Colo. (CBS4) – To I-70 Things creator Alejandro Brown, the Instagram account simply started out of a moment of exasperation, stuck in traffic.
“I just so happened to be in the car on I-70 with a buddy of mine,” Brown recalled.
“We were getting stopped left and right by cars who aren’t abiding by the traction law, there was a couple of jackknifed semi-trucks, this classic spin out, you know, little fender benders,” he said.
Brown started snapping photos of the issues along the interstate.
“I was in shock and so I was already taking pictures of everything that I’ve seen. It must have been five to seven,” said Brown.
That shock and disbelief lead to him posting on Instagram under the handle I-70 Things which now has more than 200,000 followers. The page accepts photos taken from people traveling the interstate, either of interesting moments, causes for slowdowns, or even just pretty pictures or videos of wildlife.
“We make that balance between entertainment and, you know, informative news, that’s kind of the goal,” Brown said.
The page has garnered enough popularity Brown was able to take out an advertisement billboard near Idaho Springs, partnering with a beverage company.
Still, this page has morphed from simple posts to a community connected online through the pain of getting stuck in traffic, and the love of the places I-70 takes them.
Brown now has plans to work with state agencies like CDOT to work in safety messages and is even pushing to get the attention of Colorado politicians for change along the interstate. His current goal is to help enforce traction laws for cars headed up to mountain communities along I-70, after seeing crash after crash involving cars not following the laws.
“That’s like an ‘uh oh’ moment for me personally,” Brown said after noticing rental cars seem to be a common offender.
“The day before I just posted a car spinning out that shouldn’t have been there and of course, it has a red plate,” Brown said.
“I don’t want to say it’s their fault because they simply don’t know about it, right? So how can you raise awareness?” He asked.
He’s hoping to pursue something that would provide more vehicles that abide by the traction laws or at least create awareness for people renting cars at DIA and heading to the mountains.
In the meantime, the page continues to grow as more and more people feel the sting of sitting in traffic for hours on end. The page creates a spot for everyone to come together and commiserate, as well as connect. Brown said he’s seen posters helping each other out time and time again.
“Like, ‘I’m a mile from the tunnel, does anyone have water?’ And I’ll get a DM saying, ‘hey, just send me their profile. I’ll give them some water. I have a 24 pack in my truck,’” said Brown.
“I mean, that’s humanity at the most basic level, right? We’re helping each other out,” he said.