Keep looking forward | AspenTimes.com

Keep looking forward

The “tunnel” was added to the modified-direct alignment at the request of the Friends of Marolt, the pro-S-curves group. Now they use it to kill the only alignment that will ever support increased mass transit or reduced travel times for all vehicles.

Tom McCabe, Tim Semrau and Tony Hershey are on the record supporting that CDOT reassess the need for and ways to redesign the modified-direct to get rid of the tunnel.

In the years after your yes vote for the new corridor, we can focus on a replacing the 120-year-old, retrofitted Maroon Creek Railroad Bridge, and the community can spend that time eliminating the overkill of the tunnel. I hope the rest of the Aspen City Council makes the same commitment to get rid of the tunnel.

Over 40,000 people cross Castle Creek each day, going to and from the schools, the ski areas, the Airport Business Center, Snowmass or downvalley, simply working and playing and living their lives.

Are these people the problem, the enemy? No they are us, our neighbors, friends, co-workers and guests, the people who support our businesses, run the resort, deliver our mail and participate in every aspect of Aspen’s existence.

Can we plan for the future or make any real improvements to the S-curves? No.

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Will we make transit faster with the new alignment, and make regular traffic flow better? A resounding yes!

Aspen experienced its highest traffic counts ever last July. The S-curves didn’t shield us from this traffic or allow us to mange it better. As much as the “do-nothings” urge us to look for “new” answers, and use the fear of traffic in their $17,000 campaign, they want to permanently remove the only other alignment option we have.

They dismiss other people’s daily frustrations, “fender benders” and wasted time as not part of the character or quality of life they worry about.

They disregard the impacts of hundreds of cars cutting through residential neighborhoods to bypass the idling traffic stacked down Main Street, and spin this artificial congestion as part of our specialness. They seem to forget that many of us live and do business on the wrong side of the Castle Creek Bridge.

Aspen has been a visionary in tough issues like affordable housing and mass transit, taking action to improve our community, economy and people’s daily lives, instead of turning a blind eye. We were the prime sponsors of Colorado’s first Regional Transportation Authority, and have a transit system that moves almost 4 million people a year.

Let’s keep looking forward. Vote yes to the modified-direct alignment.

Rachel E. Richards

Former Mayor of Aspen

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