An entrance solution
Dear Editor:I propose building a tollbooth in the median before the Truscott light for the left lane of Highway 82, with a radio-frequency pass for the right lane before traffic merges from two to one lane. Charge a $4 entry fee (or whatever is found to reduce traffic the appropriate amount) to enter Aspen only between the hours of 7 and 9 Monday through Friday, during winter and summer. The fee would be higher for larger construction vehicles, i.e. dump trucks and other massive vehicles. The booth must be built before the Buttermilk light so that there is, as required by law, an “alternative route” into Aspen, via Snowmass (Brush Creek to Owl Creek); though very few people would use this, as it adds 10 minutes and saves you only a couple bucks.The fee is waived, by going through the airport lane, if there are three-plus people in the car. A car could only be assessed one fee per day.Build a tollbooth on McLain Flats before Starwood, to stop cheaters. Some small road adjustments would therefore be made on McLain Flats.Turn off the Cemetery Lane light during this time, as well as the end of the day. The few cars traveling from Cemetery Lane to Aspen would be diverted into the West End. This will not create a traffic problem in the West End because the amount of traffic along McLain Flats would be reduced substantially.Increase the parking area at the Snowmass park-and-ride and have shuttles running every 5 minutes between 7:30 and 9 a.m. and at the end of the day, 4:30 to 6 p.m., direct to and from Rubey Park. These shuttles would be fully subsidized by the tollbooth tax. All downvalley mass transit would leave from the intercept lot. This tax would reduce the number of cars that drive into Aspen every day, thereby reducing the demand for parking, too. Wouldn’t it be nice to see the number of cars in Aspen reduced by 10-20 percent, thereby making it a more pedestrian-friendly town?It encourages the use of carpooling and mass transit, while also reducing emissions. There would be fewer cars driving to Aspen, and it would also cut out nearly all of the emissions when traffic is at a standstill. This benefits those who don’t mind paying the $4, as they no longer would be forced to sit in traffic, while also accommodating those that would rather keep the $4 and take the bus for five minutes.There are little to no capital and building requirements. This would decrease the amount of traffic on McLain Flats as well, since people won’t be using it to avoid traffic. The tax only needs to be done in the mornings, as the amount of traffic in the afternoon will be determined by the morning tax. This tax could subsidize a larger portion of RFTA and possibly make all bus travel in the valley free. This can be implemented by the start of the ski season, as the infrastructure improvements are so minute. Chris LundgrenOld Snowmass
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