Aspen drop-off area said to be dangerous |

Aspen drop-off area said to be dangerous

Andre Salvail
The Aspen Times
Aspen CO Colorado

ASPEN – The area on Main Street in front of the Hotel Jerome is a safety hazard and needs to be addressed by the city and the lodging facility, an Aspen Planning and Zoning Commission member told city officials recently.

Commissioner L.J. Erspamer’s brought up the problem during last Monday’s City Council meeting, holding up a recent Aspen Times photograph that showed damage to a rental car after a RFTA bus clipped it on March 10.

Erspamer said driver’s side rearview mirrors are particularly vulnerable in the drop-off area in front of the hotel. He said the curb cut near the Jerome’s main entrance should be reset about 18 inches or two feet closer to the hotel to avoid future accidents.

Late last week, he said he was trying to schedule a meeting between city engineering-department and hotel officials to discuss the possibility of moving the curb cut and other possible safety solutions. The Hotel Jerome’s director of operations could not be reached for comment.

Erspamer said he formerly owned and operated a tourism-related business with a fleet of vans that picked up and dropped off tourists at hotels around the area, including the Hotel Jerome. To avoid the potential for fender-benders, clipped mirrors and injuries, he said he always used to tell his drivers to park on Bleeker Street behind the Jerome, instead of Main Street, and walk the customers from the Main Street entrance back to where the van was parked.

“I’d like to know how many rear-view mirrors have gotten knocked off there over the years,” Erspamer said. “When I owned the river-rafting company I saw a dangerous situation that still exists. I’d like to prevent something bad from happening.”

Assistant City Manager Randy Ready said ideas are being developed for new options under the city’s ongoing street-safety program. New aspects of the program will be presented to the council later this year so that funding for safety solutions can be approved.

Tyler Christoff, a project manager in the city of Aspen’s engineering department, said the options for improving safety in front of the Hotel Jerome were identified by the city as recently as two years ago, but no action was taken.

Proposals such as moving back the curb cut to create a deeper turn-in area might be included in this year’s street-safety funding proposal to the council, Christoff said, but city officials will have to meet with hotel staff to iron out various issues. State officials also will need to be consulted since Main Street is a state highway, he added.

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