Come to your senses
October 31, 2002
I am really appalled by the short-sighted, selfish and ironically self-defeating campaign of the NIMBYs (a.k.a. Citizens for a Small Town Entrance and Friends of Marolt) regarding the Entrance to Aspen ballot question.
Most of these people, who just happen to live in the condo complex at the bank of Castle Creek, would like for us to believe they represent the majority of Aspen’s residents. Although highly motivated (and vocal), I do not believe this is so, nor do I believe their vehement opposition to the modified-direct alignment is founded in fact as much as hysterical reaction to change.
I, too, was here when this town had the dirt streets, coal-fired furnaces, ubiquitous overhead electric lines, collapsing derelict miners shacks, etc. Aspen is not a sleepy little mining town anymore. If it was, most of us could not live and/or work here because there would not be an economic base to support all of us.
Like it or not, the skiing/tourist industry and subsequent building industry are the engines that drive our economy. This requires people, goods, services, etc. The highly touted growth-control measures we live with have dictated that most of the workforce that makes the economy run must live downvalley.
This logically implies a transportation system that requires up-to-date infrastructure to operate efficiently. Face it folks, a train is not economically feasible now or anytime in the foreseeable future. We do have a very good bus system to supplement the automobile traffic.
The S-curves don’t work now and haven’t for some time. Have you ever sat in the rush hour traffic jam during ski season?
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If Aspen is to retain its reputation as a world-class destination resort, we must provide a state-of-the-art, user-friendly and enjoyable way to get to and from the various skiing, camping and sightseeing attractions that bring people here, not to mention the requisite workforce that must commute.
The naysayers have conveniently forgotten that the cut-and-cover tunnel was forced upon the CDOT engineers by the Friends of Marolt, et al, who now are cynically using it as a pretext for their opposition to the modified-direct alignment. That could very easily be deleted.
Aspen deserves a nicely designed, functional entrance that meets current needs and provides for the (distant) future addition of a light rail system.
The S-curves alignment is obsolete, in addition to being an embarrassment to an otherwise very attractive cosmopolitan mountain community. The existing bridge is over 100 years old and cannot be patched up much longer to handle the ever-increasing traffic volume.
Here is a reality check for you. Suppose the new modified-direct alignment bridge is defeated and the City Council acquiesces to the political pressure to abandon it. When the existing bridge has to be replaced, how will anyone get in or out of Aspen during construction?
The only other route is the city shops road through Castle Creek Valley. It also runs directly beneath the existing bridge. Will we resort to mule trains, or perhaps a fleet of helicopters to bring the goods and services and paying customers in town? How about that for a “small town entrance” experience?
Listen up people! This is 2002, not 1892. Please come to your senses and vote for the modified-direct alignment.