Don’t ruin our character | AspenTimes.com

Don’t ruin our character

When I think about how lucky I am to live in such a beautiful valley, it truly scares me how easily things can just slip away and be gone forever. Aspen was a whole lot different when I was born here; we had dirt streets, there were only a couple of houses on Red Mountain. Horses were tied up all over the place. The town was filled with dozens of good old American “Mom & Pop” stores; it was the Aspen that I am fortunate enough to remember. Tom’s Market, the old Jerome Pool, The Shaft, Think Toys, Sabbatinis, The Abbey, Chisholms, The Playhouse theatre, and all the wonderful Victorians. Well, true, that was a long time ago and things have changed a lot since then, but there are some things that if changed will affect the true character of this town forever.I am very concerned about this thing they call the modified-direct route/straight shot. As described to me, the straight shot has two lanes for traffic, and one lane each direction for transit/bus lanes. So essentially you have a four-lane highway coming STRAIGHT, literally, right into downtown. That, to me, sounds Iike one giant traffic jam. Oooh wait, that’s right. I forgot about all the new stoplights to slow you down. The one at 7th and Main I like the best. Just imagine, you’re driving into Aspen at 7 a.m. and you’re stuck in traffic in the left lane. Remember, the right lane is HOV/buses-only from six until nine.Wait ? the best part of it. You’re stuck in a tunnel, a giant concrete mass filled with diesel fumes and carbon monoxide. Now add in some high output fluorescent lighting. Sounds fantastic, huh! Wait, you can finally see the real daylight at the end of the tunnel. You have successfully made it to the stoplight, you look over your left shoulder down 7th Street and you wonder was all that $72 million really worth it. I don’t think so. This scenario never has to happen to Aspen. We are blessed with having the S-curves; they are a natural way of slowing traffic and keeping a pace on the flow of traffic into our spectacularly beautiful town.Don’t let them fool you about the bridges, either. A political science teacher of mine used to always say, “Don’t believe the hype.” If our bridges were unsafe, do you really think CDOT is going to take on such a liability? It would be highly unlikely. Aspen is one of the most beautiful destinations in our country, and the one thing that sets us apart is our small town way of life. That is what people come here to enjoy. Remember to vote, and vote for the S-curves.John C. Kienast Carbondale