"Because Denver's partial belt was built over time, with many assuming that the project would one day be finished, business owners and residents made decisions accordingly. Decentralization and sprawl, said one prominent planner, Patrick Phillips, have already happened. Golden's pushing the fight to the last man standing will not change what the region became along the way, he said.
'The cow has left the barn,' said Mr. Phillips, the chief executive officer at the Urban Land Institute, a nonprofit research and education organization based in Washington. 'It is an incorrect argument that if you can hold out against that last segment and not complete the ring it will be a bulwark against sprawl, because the sprawl already exists. From a regional planning and transportation perspective it makes more sense to have a full beltway than three-fourths of a beltway.'"