Above ground or nothin’ | AspenTimes.com

Above ground or nothin’

A few straight facts:

The modified-direct “straight shot,” as described in the record of decision that CDOT is dictated by, is two lanes of highway, a corridor for light rail and a 400-foot cut-and-cover tunnel.

If they’d be willing to build it above ground, I’d be willing to vote for it, but the “simple” question is too simple, and a vote against the S-curves is still a vote for the tunnel, and the train!

Supporters have magically converted the light rail lanes into “transit lanes,” and I’m praying they magically transform the cut-and-cover tunnel into an above-ground solution, too.

McCabe and Hershey both tell me they hate the tunnel, but had to include it to appease a few “squeaky wheel” gardeners. Well that’s like 10 votes!

The general public never got to vote on that point separately, and I think it’s critical that we do before approving a modified-direct straight shot. It’s all muddled together, and it’s not a simple question.

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I understand tunnels that cut through mountains, or even ones that go under bodies of water, but not underground for the heck of it. McCabe assures me it’d be brightly lit at all times (like a 7-Eleven, or laundromat ? think of the constant electric bill we’d be forced to pay forever, and nearby nighttime glow blocking local star viewing), and McCabe assures me that it’d be well ventilated (self ventilating at that length, but I choke in the open air behind our overabundance of construction diesels, don’t you?).

Why can’t we, the masses, have a say over the few “open space” lobbyists who force-fed us this industrial, big-city subway nightmare?

The current road between the Snowbunny light and roundabout will not even be “taken out” to compensate and create new open space, but merely disguised not to look like a road.

It’ll still be functional for emergency vehicles, because planners know the tunnel will be clogged and backed up with traffic from the stoplight on 7th Street, and that ambulances will need to rush into town to aid people.

What does that tell you about saving time? The emergency vehicles will still use the S-curves to get there faster!

It’s not about saving time, it’s about a future mass transit solution, which would be fine with me if it was above ground. Until they promise me I’ll still have a view of our gorgeous valley out my car or bus window, I’m voting for the S-curves.

Tom Alpern

Aspen

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