Four-lane or other solution needed now
Dear Editor:We are “damned” as Mr. Weiser so eloquently stated (The Aspen Times, Jan. 4), because we “don’t.” We don’t want to admit that we can’t solve our 20-year-old traffic problem.My “rant” in last week’s paper was out of pure frustration. I realized after sending in my letter that many readers may not be familiar with the term NIMBY: Not In My Back Yard, meaning that: “Now that I have my piece of paradise, we should stop or limit change.” Mr. Weiser is right in saying that we are responsible as a community for the problem at hand. It certainly wasn’t one person’s decision, but no viable solution was reached. The influence of those few land/home owners who would have been affected by a realignment of our highway was so loud and skewed, that the masses (majority of the voters) bought into it. Claiming that I don’t know the people I wrote about is as naive as me grouping all of Aspen’s voting, or influential, population into one group of NIMBYs. I’m sure there are plenty of individuals in the area who feel as I do and would like to see something done about our increasing problem, but like myself, either no longer have a voice due to our voting registry, or are overpowered by wealthy or uninformed influence. I was raised here, and have called Aspen home for 28 years. I love this area, our “little” town, and the locals who give our town a warm, inviting feel. It’s not like we haven’t had options thrown at us. About 12 years ago, the Walt Disney Corp., which has incredible amounts of experience in controlling traffic and designing solutions, offered their services FREE to the town of Aspen, to solve our dilemma. Do you remember what we said? I may not have this quote entirely accurate, but it was something to the effect of: “We don’t want mouse ears lining our streets.” Who really thought they would have designed in mouse ears? I don’t remember a vote on the issue, so I would call that NIMBY influence. Twelve years later, our situation is much worse, and nobody is offering free design services to solve the problem. How much is this going to cost the taxpayers now?I certainly don’t have the answer, but if we are not working on it today, we won’t have a solution tomorrow. Mr. Writer seems to understand the frustration I have been feeling, and makes very valid points regarding our “small-town feel.” Extreme traffic and angered locals only serve to hurt our tourist-based economy by driving away disgruntled tourists, or driving away those locals who once loved our community. The never-ending debates surrounding our transportation issues have to end! We need to actually do something about them!John HembelBasalt
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