Council went against voters
April 24, 2002
Tim Semrau got off the fence and tipped the scales against his constituency for the transfer of the Marolt Open Space to the State. He reasoned after reading a report by City Staffer, Randy Ready, that the S-curves could not sustain a mass transit corridor and therefore the straight shot was the only alternative. What’s infuriating is that now CDOT will build two lanes of pavement plus a transit platform straight into Aspen. The transit platform will be HOV lanes of pavement. So where’s the mass transit Tim? Since Aspen voters voted down buses on two lanes, what we have is four lanes with two HOV lanes. HOV is right next to unrestricted traffic. Walks like a duck Tim. HOV certainly isn’t mass transit. In your wildest dreams Tim, do you believe those two lanes will ever be converted for a train? When, in twenty years?
Tom McCabe stated if four lanes of pavement came across the new Castle Creek bridge he would blow them up. McCabe blew himself up with that idiotic remark.
Aside from the fact that the swap was a lousy deal that gives the City no comparable open space in exchange, the transfer does not represent the majority of the voting constituents in this city or reflect the results of the last Ballot. I heard the comment made by some very rude people in the audience, that the straight shot was “the right thing to do.” I ask you, “the right thing for whom”? I have not heard one benefit to the quality of our lives from the straight shot. Judging by the fact that most of those rude people in the audience were realtors, it’s seems it’s going to be the right thing for them – to make money. Mick Ireland stated that studies showed the straight shot would allow 37% more cars into town. Now there’s an improvement to the quality of our lives.
I ask every voter; will the straight shot improve the quality of your life? Morning up-valley commuters will wait in bumper-to-bumper traffic at the 7th and Main signal. It will be a long signal like the one at the airport intersection because there will be separate intervals for Cemetery Lane traffic to enter and exit Main Street. That bumper-to-bumper traffic will back up across the new Castle Creek bridge and into a 400 foot long tunnel. Commuters will sit there and suck fumes. To make matters worse, to keep all those commuters from speeding down Main Street, there are going to be a series of new signals at every intersection to slow things down. Straight shot proponents point out that the S-curves create more pollution. The stop light at 7th and Main will create some pollution of its own. Road rage will take on a new meaning as locals try desperately to make it on foot across Main Street. In the afternoon, instead of traffic backing part way up Main Street because of the light at Cemetery Lane, it will be stop-and-go at all those new signals on every corner of Main Street.
Rachel Richards only served one term. Her reelection took place during the last heated debate over the straight shot. Many residents voted for and made campaign contributions to Helen Klanderud because Helen was against the straight shot. Terry Paulson was reelected with only a modest campaign budget by more voters than all the other City Councilman combined. He too was against the straight shot. Tim Semrau, we voted for you because when you ran for office, you took the position that we should renovate the S-curves. Now that you turned on us don’t expect our votes in the next election. Local voters replaced members of the City government who didn’t reflect our view that we should not build a four-lane highway through the Marolt Open Space. Voters sent a clear mandate to City Council in the last election against a straight shot, yet three of our City Council members ignored us.
I think most Aspenites agree that the 110 year-old Maroon Creek bridge needs to be replaced. If you want to speed things up and eliminate the bumper-to-bumper every morning and afternoon, merge Cemetery Lane into the present round-about. Eliminate that signal, and you’ll eliminate most of the hassle. Tim Semrau, Tom McCabe and Tony Hershey voted to transfer our open space and ignore the majority of voters in Aspen. I think if the City Council members don’t hear our mandate and make a motion to reconsider, then we should send them packing in the next elections like Rachel Richards.
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