Highway at death’s door
Coming home Monday upvalley I saw a young man walking casually up the bus lane on the blind curve just east of the airport. He was rounding the corner adjacent to the exit ramp from the airport, where the concrete wall prevents getting out of the bus lane, and obviously was unaware he was not walking on a shoulder. Being a mother and having been affected by the thought of the family of the young woman recently killed by a bus in this same area, my heart was pounding.
I pulled over in the turn lane, and he came to the car when it was clear the highway had no traffic. I was just holding my breath hoping the bus didn’t roll around the corner at 50 mph, because I really didn’t want to witness that! I told him he was walking in a bus lane, not a shoulder, and that I could give him a lift to the corner. He was completely unaware he was in a bus lane, and as I pointed it out to him, he then saw the “bus lane” printed on the pavement – which would not have been visible at all with snow on the road. He was going back to the X Games venue to wait a bit longer for his flight after checking in too early.
This is ridiculous. The bus lanes are poorly designed enough to compromise safety of vehicle traffic and now pedestrian traffic. Better signage, such as something that obviously indicates “Danger!” should be a no-brainer here. Lighting at night is also a good idea.
Today might have been another headline day, “Second Aspen visitor killed by bus.” I for one am glad that headline was not on the front page. It seems time is of the essence here, so let’s avoid getting bogged down in the bureaucratic process and just find some solutions!
Our regional director from Colorado Department of Transportation is Dave Eller. He can be reached by phone at 970-683-6202 or email at David.Eller@dot.state.co.us. Please let him know a solution is imperative before somebody’s mom, dad, brothers, sisters, partners or RFTA employees have to deal with another tragedy.
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Friends of Colorado Avalanche Information Center has contributed to the state’s avalanche center for several years to help with forecasting for backcountry visitors. It cannot hold in-person fundraisers this year so its asking supporters to sign up for an annual membership.