More rooms, not many more cars |

More rooms, not many more cars

Dear Editor:

I just saw a letter published in both newspapers from my old friend John McBride (Dec. 30). In it he refers to a letter that was published 38 years ago. I don’t know how John views the world today, but it looks a lot different to me than it did in 1970.

Over the past year, 27 Aspenites, including me on behalf of Aspen Skiing Co., spent hundreds of hours examining the facts and working on the Lift One Master Plan. McBride asserts that the COWOP recommended plan will result in overcrowding of Aspen Mountain and town. The facts suggest otherwise.

Aspen Mountain visits peaked in the ’91-’92 season with 395,000 annual and about 6,000 single-day skiers. Skier days have declined by about 20 percent since then. Last year, a record snow year, there were approximately 330,000 skiers at Aspen Mountain, with peak days of less than 4,000 skiers. Why is that? Loss of tourist accommodations in Aspen. A 2005 study by the city of Aspen evidenced a decline in available pillows in Aspen from 9,959 to 7,096 from 1994 to 2005.

The Lift One Master Plan proposes to add a total of 270 bedrooms of visitor lodging, a small percentage of the lodge rooms lost over the past decade. These new lodge rooms will have great access to an underutilized part of the mountain and will dramatically improve our presentation to the world during World Cup and other racing events.

John complains about the calculation showing that at absolute peak periods these combined projects may generate up to 1,200 vehicle trips. Let’s think about what that means. The 1,200 trips are one-way trips. That’s really 600 vehicles coming and going. Let’s pretend all the vehicles come only during a 10-hour day. That’s 60 vehicles an hour, one a minute. Look out your window if you live in town. Count one car. Don’t count any other cars for 30 seconds. That’s what 60 vehicle trips an hour looks like. According to a professional traffic engineer’s report in the COWOP process, it will not be possible to detect an increase in traffic with the naked eye.

We have a chance to revitalize the Lift 1A neighborhood, bring skiing back down into town and add to our bed base if we all work together. Please support the Lift One Master Plan.

Dave Bellack


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