First, do no harm | AspenTimes.com

First, do no harm

Dear Editor:Many thanks to the RFTA general manager for pointing out one of the major problems caused by Aspen’s mistaken street closures to try to address evening rush hour traffic. The closures of Hallam and Bleeker streets have perversely added to the problems. As Blankenship rightly noted, traffic has been forced onto Power Plant Road to try to avoid the S-curves, resulting in delays and congestion simply being moved to the Cemetery Lane light area from the S-curves rather than reduced in any meaningful way. In fact, it is likely the increased traffic trying to get onto 82 from Cemetery Lane slows things down instead of speeding traffic up. Blankenship mentions one way to correct this problem, by prohibiting left-hand turns from Power Plant Road onto Cemetery Lane during evening rush hour. I agree emphatically and would like to see the city try this prohibition. But in order for this to be successful, the city would have to actually enforce the prohibition by stationing police from time to time at the intersection of Power Plant Road and Cemetery Lane. Otherwise, in very short order, drivers would soon disregard the left-turn prohibition just like they pay no attention to the HOV lanes restrictions and numerous other traffic rules and laws. In addition, however, I would suggest that the city revisit the idea of prohibiting left-hand turns from Cemetery Lane onto 82 at the light during the same evening rush hour. Then the Cemetery light could be turned off altogether at these times. Eliminating the congestion at the Cemetery light would give traffic an uninterrupted run from the end of the S-curves to the roundabout rather than being impeded by that congestion. Unfortunately, the city’s efforts to date to solve the very real problems with the evening outbound traffic have not found a magic solution. Until we can come up with a comprehensive solution to the so called Entrance to Aspen problems that just won’t go away, however, the city should at least adhere to the saying “first do no harm.”Robert AuldAspen

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