Congestion into Aspen won’t ease anytime soon |

Congestion into Aspen won’t ease anytime soon

The entrance to Aspen, mainly the highway's S-curves, has been debated for more than 40 years.
Aspen Times file |

Aspen City Councilman Adam Frisch joked Thursday that paving the Roaring Fork River could be a possible solution to the traffic problems at the Entrance to Aspen.

In an Elected Officials Transportation Committee meeting, county officials played “If you were a king for a day” and brainstormed their best ideas to resolve an issue that the community has debated — and voted on at least two dozen times — for more than 40 years.

Some of the more serious solutions proposed were the adding of light-rail service into town from the intercept lot, requiring land developers to provide transportation from the intercept lot and paving the golf course and using the space as a parking lot.

“This is a substantial problem,” Pitkin County Commissioner Michael Owsley said. “More substantial would be, do we need a golf course at the Entrance to Aspen?”

Onerous parking rates in town, better utilizing the intercept lot, the Aspen-Pitkin County Airport and Buttermilk Mountain parking lots and restricted access into Aspen were some of the other ideas pitched at the meeting.

“Parking in Aspen should be free for residents,” Pitkin County Commissioner Chairman Steve Child said. He added that he thought parking should be “astronomical for anyone outside.”

Child also proposed the Roaring Fork Transportation Authority bus routes be free everywhere.

“I would like to see a study from RFTA … to see how much money they generate from fees,” Child said.

Mayor Steve Skadron asked Pitkin County Public Works Director Brian Pettet where the committee should go from here, noting they “could talk endlessly” about the issue.

Pettet said he “will try to flush out these ideas a little” and bring them back before the next Elected Officials Transportation Committee meeting.

Skadron said he thinks the next meeting will be sometime in March.

In a conversation between Frisch and Skadron after the meeting, Frisch said the city should offer a $500,000 prize to anyone who can come up with “an engineered solution” to the problem.

The mayor was all for the idea, which Frisch said he thinks “would be the best money the city ever spent,” Frisch said.

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