A Sunday drive ruined
October 20, 2002
The first time I drove into Aspen, I thought the S-curves were a detour.
It is important that we preserve a sense of a small town, and driving Highway 82, coming in from the golf course does feel like a Sunday drive ? until you hit the S-curves.
Suddenly you are in a congested, tight area, braking, accelerating, braking ? and then, wow! The car turns onto a wide, beautiful, tree-lined boulevard that is Aspen’s Main Street.
So what’s with the attachment to the middle part?
The proposed modified alignment would connect Main Street directly with two lanes of 25 mph traffic meandering through an open meadow with Pyramid Peak looming over instead of condominiums.
And while it is true the tunnel isn’t scenic, it was added at the behest of the Friends of Marolt. As their anti-straight shot ads demonstrate, they no longer support a tunnel. Let’s just get rid of it.
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Equally important to aesthetic considerations are some real world realities.
Aspen is no longer contained in its traditional core. Today, many of our core town services are on the west side of the S-turns. In an effort to revitalize and restore the health of Aspen the ski resort, we are now marketing Aspen, Highlands, Buttermilk, Snowmass, the new recreation center, cross-country skiing, etc., as one place.
Yet the S-curves, both physically and visually, act as a barrier ? impeding movement and visual transitions from Main Street Aspen to the rest of the Aspen/Snowmass area. Aspen doesn’t end at the Castle Creek Bridge.
The Maroon Creek Bridge is a 110-year-old train trestle with a highway cantilevered over it. Getting money from the state/feds takes decades. Tell CDOT with a vote that you reject the state-ratified Record of Decision ? CDOT’s plan to improve our highway and bridges ? and you move back to the end of the line for funding.
CDOT’s engineers were ADAMANT they would not support an alignment compromise ? including “in” on straight and “out” on S.
Vote yes to a scenic entrance without the road blocking S-curves. Vote yes on the modified straight alignment.
Pitkin County Commissioner