Citizens to city: Work on the S curves (And get the Marolt easement back) | AspenTimes.com
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Citizens to city: Work on the S curves (And get the Marolt easement back)

Janet Urquhart
Aspen Times Staff Writer

Foes of realigning Highway 82 across open space on Aspen’s west side urged the City Council on Monday to pass a resolution asking the state to give its highway easement across the land back to the city.

The Citizens for a Small Town Entrance and Friends of Marolt Park and Open Space want the council to acknowledge voters’ sentiments on the alignment issue and push the Colorado Department of Transportation to return the right of way. It’s clear, according to Citizens/Friends spokesman Dennis Vaughn, that most Aspenites no longer want that easement used for a highway.

The two groups also want the city to initiate an independent study of ways to improve the existing Highway 82 alignment through the so-called S curves at the western entrance to town, as well as changes to the Maroon Creek bridge.



The council should also pass a resolution asking CDOT to conduct the environmental studies necessary to facilitate any proposals for improving the S curves or the bridge, the two groups contend.

It’s time the city and state began focusing their efforts on what Aspen voters want, said Vaughn, asking the council to schedule a work session to discuss all of the groups’ requests. They were outlined in a letter he presented to council members.




The council, which will convene for a work session today on the city’s proposed infill legislation, can also discuss scheduling a session on the entrance, Mayor Helen Klanderud responded.

The city conveyed an easement for realignment of the highway across the Marolt-Thomas open space last year. Subsequently, city and county voters endorsed the existing alignment over the proposed realignment in the November election.

It was one of several votes in recent years that have gone against the Entrance to Aspen plan endorsed by city voters in 1996 ? two lanes of traffic and a light-rail corridor that would cross the open space and a new bridge over Castle Creek, linking the highway to the upper end of Main Street. The new alignment would bypass the S curves, which funnel traffic through two 90-degree turns in the West End.

“These votes demonstrate that a new approach is required and we trust CDOT will respond accordingly,” reads the letter.

“We feel that, at this point, CDOT should be in a position to be willing to recognize what has gone on in this community,” Vaughn added. “An entrance to Aspen through Marolt Park is not acceptable to the community.”

[Janet Urquhart’s e-mail address is janet@aspentimes.com]


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