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Moving forward together

Dear Editor:In 1995 and 1996, the three individuals responsible for this letter spent countless hours assessing options for addressing the Entrance to Aspen that were environmentally sound and met community objectives. Like many of the people who participated in the recent instant voting event at the Wheeler, we do not agree on the best course from the roundabout to Main St., however, all three of us agree that Ballot Question No. 1 deserves all of our support in order to improve transit service on Highway 82 now. We urge Aspen voters to vote YES on May 8.Since the environmental review was completed, Ed and Yasmine have focused their energy on preserving the Marolt Park and Open Space as leaders of the Friends of Marolt. Bob has supported using Marolt for implementing the Preferred Alternative of two lanes and light rail or two lanes and a busway. Fortunately, we have maintained friendly relations while disagreeing on this important community issue.Without transit service, Aspen would grind to a halt. On peak winter days, RFTA hauls 13,000 passengers into and out of Aspen. On some days, it can take 25 minutes for a bus to travel just three miles. We can do better and you can help make common-sense improvements by voting yes on Ballot Measure No. 1.In the spring of 2008, the Maroon Creek Bridge will be completed. On May 8 Aspen voters decide whether to use that bridge with just two lanes for all vehicles, or to use that bridge for two lanes of vehicles and two lanes for buses.Ballot Question No. 1 will ask Aspen voters to amend the rights-of-way agreement with the Colorado Department of Transportation to allow bus lanes to be built from Buttermilk over the new Maroon Creek bridge and to the roundabout.A “Yes” vote to add the bus lanes now will: Save $500,000 and avoid major traffic delays adding lanes after the bridge is in use Cut bus travel times by 15 minutes in each direction Ease congestion by getting buses out of traffic and getting more people on buses Improve emergency vehicle access on Highway 82 Include a pedestrian and bike pathway alongside the highway improvementsVoting yes for the bus lanes from Buttermilk to the roundabout does not predispose using the Marolt Open Space or the S-curves alignment or prevent future rail service. Voting yes allows Aspen to solve one piece of the Entrance puzzle using existing funds, with no new taxes.A “no” vote will mean that the RFTA and school buses and emergency vehicles will remain in the same two lanes with all of the other vehicles. No one benefits from that scenario.We need your support for these common-sense improvements that we can all support. This is your chance to help transit solve the traffic problem today. Vote yes on Ballot Question 1 on May 8. Thank you.Ed Zasacky, Yasmine DePagter and Bob SchultzAspen


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