HOV system doesn’t work
Dear Editor:After reading your HOV articles and editorial on June 15, I felt obligated to respond. Prior to the highway expansion, as many of us remember, there were significant backups on Highway 82. As a proactive measure, CDOT made it a requirement that the highway use the HOV system as many large metropolitan areas have used successfully. At the time, a good idea with good intentions. However, since the completion of the four-lane and Snowmass Canyon project, most will now agree that the traffic backups between Basalt and the ABC are minor in comparison, and it isn’t as bad as we thought it might be. With this realization and increased complaints on the HOV system, CDOT’s response has been “it works in Denver” or “it was required for the expansion, so you now need to live with it.” These types of responses are clearly not acceptable. We need to look at our current highway. As a daily commuter on Highway 82, using both the SOV and HOV lanes, depending on my occupants, I feel strongly the HOV system does not work and doesn’t benefit either group. First and foremost, it restricts flow. Both lanes are slowed down by slow work trucks side by side, large vehicles in both lanes slowly accelerating from stop lights, and confused drivers who drive slowly in both lanes. Clearly a lose-lose situation.The system is also very unsafe. Passing in the right lane goes against everything we are taught about highway driving. HOV drivers (and cheaters) end up dangerously weaving in and out of traffic using both lanes. Confused drivers don’t know what to think and road rage is high and clearly visible.RFTA understandably is nervous to admit the system does not work, as they would be taking a chance it may reduce their ridership. This is why we need to look at other solutions, such as dedicated third bus lanes where they can avoid bottlenecks, like at Buttermilk, the Maroon Creek bridge and the roundabout. We have started to use some of these and they clearly do work. This is a much better solution.Lastly, I wanted to comment on The Aspen Times editorial on “enforcement.” With a system that clearly does not work and really is not needed in the first place, I do not agree with spending our limited police resources on this. There are clearly many more important things for them to focus on, like ensuring our children going to school are safe, responding to emergencies and attending to accidents. It’s obvious they have already made that decision and I support them. In conclusion, if you agree with the points I have made, please share that with the Pitkin County commissioners and CDOT. We are their eyes and ears. They need our feedback!J. RowleyBasalt
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Basalt High School choir director Brittany von Stein made her first court appearance Wednesday for advisement on the criminal charges filed against her for alleged sexual relations with a student. The criminal case was sealed by a judge’s order so limited information was available.