City mulls keeping snow on malls |

City mulls keeping snow on malls

Janet Urquhart
Aspen Times Staff Writer

Aspen’s ever-diligent snow-removal efforts aren’t slipping. The downtown pedestrian malls are sporting more snow cover than usual by design.

The snow-packed stretches of the Hyman and Cooper Avenue malls, as well as Christmas decorations that went up before Halloween, are all part of the holiday ambiance being provided for this week’s taping of an ABC television special. It will wrap up with a special program at the Wheeler Opera House on Saturday.

But before crews scrape that layer of winter off the brick walkways next week, Parks Director Jeff Woods wants to know what everybody thinks. He asked City Council members to take a stroll down the malls this week and offer their input.

“The issue has been raised over the years, whether we do too much snow removal,” he said. “It’s an age-old debate, whether we do too much or not.”

Typically, crews clear the Hyman and Cooper Avenue mall surfaces and leave snow piled on the twin grassy strips that contain the trees and streams on both blocks. This week, narrower paths fronting the mall businesses have been cleared to the brick, but packed snow remains on much of the malls.

So far, no one has complained, Woods said.

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“I haven’t received 50 phone calls saying, ‘Why aren’t we plowing it,'” he said.

Even if the city leaves more snow on the malls, crews will still have to clear paths so pedestrians can cross from one side to the other and keep the surfaces safe for foot traffic.

“Where snow gets compacted, it will get slippery,” Woods said.

Although the city may spend less money on mall maintenance by leaving more snow there, it won’t be a significant savings, Woods guessed. The real difference, he said, will be an aesthetic one.

The wintry look has Councilman Tom McCabe’s vote.

“You know, I kinda like them with more snow. I realize it might mean a little more slipping and sliding, but we are in the mountains, in snow country,” he said. “I’m not opposed to having them look whiter.”

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