Aspen’s latest traffic experiment bans lefts onto Cemetery
September 3, 2008
ASPEN ” City officials plan to prevent motorists from cutting into the queue of traffic creeping out of town by prohibiting left-hand turns onto Cemetery Lane from Power Plant Road ” a popular short cut for motorists looking to avoid afternoon backups on Main Street and in the S-curves.
The Aspen City Council on Tuesday directed Assistant City Manager Randy Ready to come up with a proposal to make the left-hand turn illegal, leaving only the option for a right turn onto Cemetary Lane, taking motorists to McLain Flats Road. The latter still provides a route to bypass Main Street and S-curves gridlock, but motorists who leave town via McLain Flats must drive a two-lane road at least as far as upper Woody Creek before returning to the highway.
The no-left rule will be an experiment for a few months; left turns will be prohibited from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. Barricades and police personnel will be used to enforce the new rule.
Mayor Mick Ireland suggested the idea, based partially on input from residents who live in the West End and are impacted by commuters cutting through their neighborhood instead of leaving town on Main Street.
“It seems wrong that people cut in line and it’s unproductive,” he said of the manuever.
The city already has various barricades in place in the S-curves to prevent turns to and from West End side streets that exacerbate the traffic jam on the edge of town, where Highway 82 narrows to two lanes as it winds through two 90-degree turns and crosses the Castle Creek Bridge.