From a real commuter
I couldn’t help but respond to Mayor Mick Ireland’s letter to the editor in the Oct. 28 edition of your paper.
Let me first say that I completely support increased bus ridership, by those who can, to help ease Aspen’s traffic problems; but to think that the bulk of commuters are capable of effectively utilizing RFTA is, in my opinion, indicative of the fact that the mayor doesn’t understand the composition of the commuting traffic. I think that Mayor Ireland is someone who wants the best for Aspen, but may not experience the traffic problem in the same way as those of us in cars, as he is able to avoid the traffic issue by riding his bike into town on the sidewalk from the Aspen Business Center (ABC). Until such time as RFTA outfits its buses with storage for tools; sheets of drywall; buckets of paint; electrical or plumbing pipe; and the ability to drive right to a job site, it is wishful delusion to think that bus ridership can solve the traffic problem.
Has no one pondering this issue over the past 38 years noticed that the bulk of daily traffic into and out of Aspen is comprised of the construction and maintenance workforce? (If not, I would recommend that they stand at the roundabout, from 7-10 a.m., or 2-6 p.m., so that they might educate themselves to this particular commuter demographic.) How will these people ever be able to utilize public transportation with their particular need to transport materials or workers to job sites?
Additionally, I would suggest that those pondering the traffic issue take the time to read the book, “Who Moved my Cheese?”, a book which illuminates that the greatest impediment to productivity is caused by bottlenecks, which constrain the fastest to have to slow down to the pace of the slowest, in order to move at all. Perhaps then they would realize that the component that probably is the culprit to blame for our traffic congestion are the forced bottlenecks, (forcing two lanes into one, with all of its attendant problems), and the afternoon stop and start to the traffic flow caused by the light at Cemetery Lane, and the bottleneck of the merge at the roundabout.
It is too bad that the people who are deciding how best to fix the traffic congestion problem of traveling into or out of Aspen have no idea what the commute is really all about. I believe this is because they don’t actually commute into or out of Aspen; instead, they wake up every day, already here. Those of us who actually commute into this town five days a week “get it” ” fix those stupid impediments to flow (the stoplight and the bottlenecks), and see if we actually start allowing the traffic to flow. I agree that it would be wonderful if we could limit the number of vehicles into town; but isn’t the actual impact on the environment less if 50,000 cars took five minutes to drive from the airport, than if 23,000 cars are barely moving, and take 30 to 60 minutes, mostly idling, to travel that same distance? If it takes 23,000 cars an average of 45 minutes to get into town, the impact is really like having 207,000 cars driving into town. These are merely thoughts from one frustrated commuter who actually drives into and out of this town to work by driving on the highway, rather than riding my bicycle on the sidewalk from the ABC into town. I think I’m like most commuters … I just want to stay moving in the direction I’m headed.
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