Don’t blame the S-curves | AspenTimes.com
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Don’t blame the S-curves

Dear Editor:During this time of debate on traffic congestion leading in and out of Aspen, I’d like to share some insight.I drove a ski bus during the winter seasons for the city of Aspen (before RFTA) in the early to mid-80s.Many have forgotten the huge traffic jams leading in and out of Aspen in those days. There was very limited bus service downvalley (by Pitkin County), so most people drove up the valley. There also was heavy traffic from Highlands, Buttermilk and Snowmass. The backup coming into Aspen frequently extended past Buttermilk in the afternoons, sometimes all the way to the airport.While the S-curves slowed traffic in and out of Aspen, the real culprit for the backup was the stoplight at Cemetery Lane. The city of Aspen finally put someone out at that light to operate it manually. They would keep the light green and only trigger it momentarily when they had a few cars backed up on Cemetery Lane. The traffic slowed but kept flowing. Whenever the city was late getting someone to run that stoplight, or they didn’t do it at all, the traffic came to a halt.Now, there are several traffic lights to deal with and the roundabout. Until the bridge is finished, it would be interesting to see if that old trick of running all of those lights manually at peak hours would smooth traffic flow.On another note, when restricted and paid parking was introduced in Aspen, the city provided 10-minute bus service from the airport parking lots during peak morning and afternoon hours. Many people took advantage of that program and left their cars at the airport. Then, for some reason, the city abandoned that program in the offseason and never went back to it. It seems it’s time to rethink that idea again.The bus lane along Main Street has worked well since it was instigated, but the real hang-ups are still those traffic lights out on 82.Meanwhile, don’t blame those S curves for stopping the traffic: It’s the lights, roundabout and simply too many vehicles.Ned CochranSnowmass Village


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