Look, Aspen – no hands at Rubey Park | AspenTimes.com

Look, Aspen – no hands at Rubey Park

Naomi Havlen

The clock tower at the Rubey Park bus station has no hands, pending an upgrade that will synchronize the clock with the atomic clock in Boulder. (Mark Fox/The Aspen Times)

If you thought you couldn’t see the clock hands at Rubey Park because you had one too many margaritas during happy hour, relax – all the hands are missing from the clock tower at the bus station.The hands of all four faces disappeared one week ago and are being repainted in anticipation of a new, ultra-accurate clock that should be installed around Oct. 17.

Meg Dimauro, information clerk at Rubey Park, said the four clock faces have displayed different, inaccurate times for years.”Four faces, four different times,” said one Roaring Fork Transportation Authority staffer standing behind the counter at Rubey Park on Tuesday afternoon.Russ Decker, facilities manager for RFTA, said the new innards for the clock include a satellite connection to the atomic clock in Boulder, which tells accurate time using vibrations associated with atoms, unlike other clocks that use pendulums or oscillations in the power lines.

RFTA bus drivers already synchronize their own watches with an atomic clock inside the Rubey Park station, said RFTA driver Jon Tripp. They also use their accurate timing system to make sure they don’t leave certain stops in the valley before they need to.The new clock at Rubey Park will also include a battery backup system, so if there is a power outage, buses will still leave the station on time, Decker said.

The city of Aspen has a $20,000 annual budget for maintenance of Rubey Park, said Randy Ready, Aspen assistant city manager, but he did not know how much the city contributed to replacing the clock.Dimauro said “more than several” people have complained to her that they’re in danger of missing their bus because of the missing hands on the clock tower at Rubey Park. She said when people call her and say they’ve missed their bus, she asks them what time they have on their own watch, which she said is often inaccurate.Naomi Havlen’s e-mail address is nhavlen@aspentimes.com

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