Don’t let RFTA rip out El Jebel’s heart
How ironic that the new bus rapid transit plan has taken on the logo VelociRFTA. Velociraptors have a predatory claw used to tear into prey, delivering a fatal blow. Putting aside their role as cunning killers, Velociraptor in Greek means “speedy thief.” VelociRFTA is tearing into the midvalley area with a plan sure to disembowel El Jebel, rushing to acquire federal dollars prompted by the new El Jebel park-and-ride proposal.
A failed plan from the start, the proposal has misled the public. There is no scaled drawing to support use of 90 spaces, handicapped parking, entry and exit, proper setbacks, sidewalks, bathrooms, bike racks, commuter bus idling, turnaround and connection to the bus rapid transit highway stop without eliminating East Valley Road. The scaled drawing does not exist because it is impossible to achieve without immense community impact. The current lot is three times the size and yesterday hosted 100 cars, five handicapped spaces, port-a-john, bike racks and multiple buses.
The smaller site is not in alignment with growth. Yet the unincorporated community of El Jebel is being rammed by the town of Basalt, which benefits monetarily, while the Eagle County commissioners and the Colorado Department of Transportation ignore their obligation to stop open ticket approvals.
Forty-five million dollars is about to be spent to cut travel time. However, the RFTA website states only five to 10 minutes will be cut from an express trip down the valley. Two bus rapid transit stops less than one mile apart in El Jebel does not speed up transit.
Of equal importance is that the existing bus stops in our area are not under control, i.e., Catherine Store, El Jebel and Aspen Junction. The lots are unpaved, overcrowded and not monitored. RFTA does not manage current use yet is asking for a rash approval. How will all of the lots be controlled in the future? How is it going to be better? The 138-page bus rapid transit environmental assessment did not show how it is going to work. Proper use, impact and mitigation measures are seriously tainted.
I’m OK with an advanced bus rapid transit system in our valley, but reporting lies as truth and ignoring history is simply fraudulent. Attend the Roaring Fork Valley Planning Commission meeting at 4:30 p.m. today in the El Jebel Community Center. Demand that proposed development take responsibility for its impacts and insist this use approval be denied until looked at carefully.
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