Basalt should rethink its vehicle restrictions
One of the things that Americans can’t stand about government is that it says one thing, whether from the podium or in the rule book, and then does another. The Basalt town government seems ready to do just that in its plan to restrict certain vehicles on Two Rivers Road, and we hope the Town Council will change course, if only slightly.Last week the council unanimously approved a weight restriction of 10,000 pounds on the road also known as Old Highway 82 that parallels the Roaring Fork River west of Town Hall. Town officials say the new rule will lower maintenance costs on the road, which Basalt recently acquired from the state, by removing some of the heaviest truck traffic. Delivery trucks, dump trucks and other large vehicles would presumably enter town from Highway 82 at the main Basalt signal.It seems reasonable for Basalt to designate a delivery route into town and to reduce heavy traffic on Two Rivers Road, where officials hope to add a bike/pedestrian trail someday.But there’s more to this weight restriction than meets the eye.First, Roaring Fork Transit Authority buses and school buses would be exempt. OK, there are already RFTA stops along the route, and who can argue against the kids?Second, because the town doesn’t want to discourage boat owners from going to Ruedi Reservoir, it plans to let pickups and SUVs towing boat trailers to use the road. But here’s the problem: Rather than specifically exempt boat trailers, the town will allow the police department to selectively enforce the weight limit – ticket truckers, turn a blind eye to boaters.Perhaps this is small potatoes, but it’s also the kind of behavior that makes citizens distrust government. Laws should be explicit as to what is intended, and should not be enacted unless government proposes to enforce them. Period.If the intent is to let recreational boaters continue to use Two Rivers Road, then the town should specifically exempt them. Or, unless town officials expect a boycott of Basalt/Ruedi by an angry Chris-Craft coalition, then it should force the boaters to follow the same restrictions and drive through town on the designated truck route.Don’t muddy the waters with selective enforcement.It’s a matter of fairness, consistency and honesty. People should not say one thing and do another; neither should governments.
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It might be public service serving on Aspen City Council but it doesn’t pay enough, the majority of electeds say. That’s why they are proposing to give their successors a $12,000 raise.