No laughing matter | AspenTimes.com

No laughing matter

Dear Editor:

The HOV lane, in its present configuration, is a joke. After reading Monday’s story about said lane (“HOV lanes lure impatient commuters,” Sept. 11), I felt like I had to weigh in on the subject. Both John Kruger (city of Aspen transportation director) and Dan Blankenship (RFTA CEO) are delusional about the benefits of the HOV lane. When these two comedians extoll the virtues of the HOV lane, I feel like Bush and Cheney are telling me that we are winning the war in Iraq.

As a resident of Woody Creek and a winter employee of the Skico at the Snowmass Ski Area, I defy death on a daily basis when turning upvalley from Smith Way onto Highway 82. With no upvalley acceleration lane (thank you, Ralph Trapani), the left lane as the mandatory lane for single occupancy vehicles, and a parallax view of approaching upvalley traffic making it difficult to discern when the left lane is open, the morning pullout is really exciting. Combine this with the fact that the 50 mph speed limit is ignored by many drivers, 65 to 70 mph seems the norm, and you have a recipe for disaster. This intersection has been the scene of numerous fatalities since the new and improved Highway 82 was completed.

Though I am only an occasional user of Highway 82 in the afternoon (3 to 6 p.m.), I have made the following observations. The speed limit in the beautiful new four lane through Snowmass Canyon is 50 mph, but even if you drive 55 to 60 mph in the left lane, you will be tailgated or flipped off and scowled at as people pass you on the right. If you do the logical thing and drive in the right lane, you can be ticketed if you are a single occupancy vehicle, or flipped off and scowled at for again being in the “wrong” lane.

Let’s get real. We all suffered for years while Highway 82 was being improved. Now we are still suffering with the absurdity of the HOV lane. It’s high time to move the HOV lane to the left lane, or better yet, abandon it all together. How about the time-proven concept of slower traffic, keep right?

Donny Birnkrant

Woody Creek