A new approach to 82? | AspenTimes.com

A new approach to 82?

Dear Editor:As a resident of the West End, I have observed the city’s inept management of the Route 82 detour. Those leaving Aspen are forced to squeeze into one lane when they reach Sixth and then remain in single file as they drive north to Smuggler, west on Smuggler to Eighth, and north on Eighth to Route 82. The management of the detour by Aspen’s street department is so pathetic that literally hundreds of those trying to leave town drive wildly up and down the west side of the West End like mice lost in a maze looking for the reward.On Thursday, May 4, Aspen’s excellent but understaffed police put in an admirable effort to control traffic. However, there are just not enough police. Further, those trying to leave town recognize that the police are very unlikely to ticket them. As a result, the chaos will continue.There is, however, a relatively simple solution. Traffic departments in other cities often convert two-way streets to one-way streets to help commuters enter or leave town at peak periods. Aspen’s traffic department could follow such an approach during the evening compute by making Sixth Street one way north from Main to Smuggler, Smuggler one-way west from Sixth to Eighth. This would permit two lanes of traffic to exit the city. Traffic in the left lane of Sixth would turn left on Smuggler and then left on Eighth to go back to Route 82. Traffic in the right lane of Smuggler would continue west on Power Plant Road and then could return to Route 82 by turning left on Cemetery Lane. Eastbound traffic on Power Plant would turn left at Eighth, turn right on Meadows Road and continue into the West End.This approach may have the potential to almost double the number of cars that can exit the city during rush hour. It would also reduce the pollution in the West End, thereby helping the city meet its Canary Intuitive goals.Given the benefits of this proposal – and the experience of many other cities – one wonders why the Aspen’s street department hasn’t employed this approach.Philip K. Verleger Jr.Aspen

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