It’s the lights, stupid | AspenTimes.com
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It’s the lights, stupid

Dear Editor: It is true that there are simply too many vehicles coming into Aspen. It is also true that bottlenecks such as the S-curves contribute to the problem. However, what is most remarkable is that there is no discussion of the problem with traffic lights on the stretch between Aspen and the AABC. There are five stoplights in the one-and-one-half mile stretch; that is dense even by urban standards. Some thought and study ought to be directed towards to influence on traffic of those five independently cycled traffic lights.It occurred to me that many of the people who are responsible for “solving” this problem may not in fact participate in the commute on a daily basis. I wonder if they ever even leave Aspen. If they did, it would be eminently clear that the cycling of the Truscott light to allow a single car to enter Highway 82 wreaks more havoc on the traffic flow than the roundabout or the Buttermilk merge. This applies also to the Owl Creek light, which interrupts Highway 82 on a nearly continuous basis, merely to let a single car or small group in. Meanwhile, the inane light at Harmony Lane is redeemed only by the infrequency of its activation.With 25,000 vehicles per day, the sad reality is there will be no “magic bullet.” However, given that the city’s “S-curve Demonstration Project” defines the boundary of its study area as ending at Cemetery Lane, this gives credence to the critique that Aspen residents never go further downvalley than the roundabout. Whatever solutions might be available to lessen the problem, it will require a mindset that thinks outside the boundaries of downtown and beyond the obsession with the S-curves.Malcolm McMichael Carbondale


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