Main Street mess
Dear Editor:”Where is our (Aspen’s) city council?” asks Sheldon Fingerman in his latest column for the Aspen Daily News. Well, the last time I saw Aspen City Council was on Tuesday, downstairs in City Hall from 4:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. Newly elected members Jack Johnson and J.E. DeVilbiss were in attendance with Mayor Klanderud, Rachel Richards and Torre. Their work session was on the S-curves and the Cemetery Lane/roundabout experiment with CDOT, RFTA, Aspen’s transportation department and members of the S-curves task force. It’s hard to put into words and convey to Aspen’s City Council in three minutes what Aspen’s Main Street, U.S.A. really looks like when many RFTA buses, local residents, downvalley commuters, tourists, construction trucks, Snowmass Villagers, music students, skiers, school kids, free market residents, employee housing occupants and second family homeowners are heading in the same direction from approximately 7 a.m. until 9:30 a.m. and again from 2:30 p.m. until 6 p.m. Pictures are said to convey a thousand words in seconds. Well, if you take a look at both of Thursday’s newspapers, pictures from photographers Paul Conrad of the Aspen Times and Zach Ornitz of the Aspen Daily News showed the reality of Aspen’s Main Street, U.S.A. gridlock at its finest on what has become a “normal” day in Aspen. Greg Hughes’ letter to the editor recommended Jack Johnson and the rest of City Council ride with Mayor Klanderud in these rush hours, since the mayor has a big SUV, so the Council can see what they are asking citizens to endure. Better yet, my suggestion is – and this is not aimed to be sarcastic, but as more of a reality check – I recommend the council take the mass transit free RFTA bus out to the recreation center at those times or better yet, the Council can hop on one of the new alternative mode free-to-use green bikes with the white baskets parked at City Hall. The council can then pedal either on Main Street or on the side streets to see what the traffic really looks like. Why? Aspen needs more than Band-Aids on the S-curves. Just wait until the unopened doors open up for business at the Hyatt hotel, Little Nell Residences, Chart House, Dancing Bear, Limelite, Lift 1A, Obermeyer, private development at Fox’s Crossing, “affordable housing” at Stillwater, Aspen Consolidated District, Shadow Mountain, Smuggler, old animal shelter at AABC, big Burlingame Ranch and Snowmass’s Base Village.Solutions for the long term? As I started to bring up “reality” solutions for some of the problems, my three minutes of free speech ended. Being forever persistent, I will patiently wait until my next three minutes of free speech. Until then, don’t forget to wear your bike helmets and look both ways before crossing the street. Toni KronbergAspen
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Under bluebird skies with 160 acres under their boots, hundreds of skiers and snowboarders took to Aspen Mountain for opening day Wednesday.