Bullet through Aspen’s heart
September 15, 2002
I’ve been lucky to live full-time in Aspen for 30 years. I have voted against the “straight shot” for as long as I can remember.
I guess I never paid too much attention to exactly what the straight shot is, since whatever it was I didn’t support it for aesthetic reasons.
So, now that I must vote again and am more concerned than ever about it coming to fruition, I have taken some time to find out exactly what it is. I am horrified and suspect that there may be many interested parties who need some information, just like I did.
The so-called straight shot is two lanes of traffic (one each direction), maybe one lane for fantasized rail (?) coming into Aspen under the Marolt property through a 400-foot (the length of 1 1/3 football fields) TUNNEL!
How did I miss this? How could anyone even consider allowing a tunnel to be the Entrance to Aspen? I sort of wish I didn’t do the research, because now I find myself lying in bed at night trying to picture this and feeling sick to my stomach.
This is way, way worse than getting three more Gucci stores, worse than real estate/timeshare offices in town and worse than the horrible housing at the golf course. This is PERMANENT. It will forever alter the feel and charm of our town. It will forever alter our individuality.
Recommended Stories For You
IT WILL NOT SPEED THINGS UP. The straight shot means several new stop lights on Main Street. It is in the plan. Traffic comes in and needs to be slowed. So, our now very beautiful Main Street would look more like Glenwood Springs.
This cannot be what we want to see. Aspen’s S-curves naturally slow things down. When you get slowed down by the additional traffic lights it will be less natural. And here’s the REAL kicker … we can do it sitting in a tunnel full of exhaust fumes. Now THAT will be pleasant.
You won’t have a view, you won’t have oxygen and you certainly won’t have a warm feeling (which I have every time I drive into Aspen, even after 30 years) that you are entering one of the most beautiful towns in the U.S.
The S-curves flow as naturally as possible considering the environs. The backup you see now with just one light at Cemetery Lane is nothing compared to what you will see when those additional stop lights go in on west Main Street. Traffic will stop several times more even when there is NO traffic.
Personally, I don’t think anyone who truly loves this town and its beauty could be for the straight shot. I think those in favor are being very shortsighted. The problems of making this change are obviously aesthetic, but also very practical.
Straight or curved, the Entrance to Aspen will not ever be backup-free at rush hour. Is any place? The straight shot would be a VERY poor trade (two lanes for two lanes, underground for view, highway entrance for charm, fumes for fresh air) for what exists now. VISUALIZE THIS!
And last, but not least, let’s not vote for more years of construction. The roundabout is done and in the not too distant future Highway 82 will be four lanes from Glenwood to Buttermilk. Let’s enjoy it!
Currently we have beauty, charm and individuality. It is indisputable. There is a sense of anticipation and appeal entering our town. If you love Aspen, don’t let the straight shot/tunnel put a bullet through its heart.