Oh, the noise, noise, NOISE!
September 10, 2002
I was disappointed that the Aspen Transportation Department and the Environmental Health Department have concluded that there is no appreciable transit noise problem in Aspen.
Having gone to the trouble to borrow the Environmental Health Department’s noise meter to monitor several days of bus noise in order to bring Aspen’s noise pollution to the attention of the city, it was discouraging to see that my carefully monitored findings over many days were disregarded.
Having been told that 86 decibels is an acceptable noise level for moving traffic, I can assure you that if an 86 level (which is deafening) is considered acceptable by the Environmental Health Department, then the standard for noise levels in Aspen needs to be lowered.
I cannot even hear my TV at full volume when some of the buses brake and accelerate to turn the corner from Durant to Aspen.
It has been suggested that the buses could turn north on Monarch (which is more commercial) instead of Aspen Street (which is residential). It has also been suggested that the stop sign at Aspen and Durant could be removed without any risk.
The city’s decision not to make “any changes to bus routes, schedules or equipment” is inadequate. I have considered inviting the city’s decision-makers to a slumber party at my home to see if they can slumber, as the buses are VERY noisy throughout the night and often keep me awake.
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My 81 and 84 decibel readings on Sunday night between 11:30 p.m. and midnight are not acceptable noise levels. It does NOT help for the city to commit to having “periodic noise readings” if the acceptable noise level standards are set too high in the first place.
A viable solution to a number of Aspen’s problems is to introduce trolley cars to Aspen that will eliminate most noise, eliminate most congestion, eliminate the need for more parking, and create a quaint, charming atmosphere for the town.
Furthermore, if a light rail train connected Glenwood Springs and Aspen (which received considerable support in the past), this solution would also eliminate the need to build highways that require maintenance, eliminate some dependency on petrol, eliminate some pollution, eliminate some traffic jams and accidents, relieve the need for increased parking in town, reduce lost “man hours” commuting when the work force is stalled in traffic, and create “sociability” in trolley and train travel, an asset which should not be overlooked.
How to promote the light rail and raise funds? Amtrak on the East Coast conducts special event murder mystery train rides between New York and Washington which have met with success as the “would-be murder” takes place one direction, and the investigation and solution of the dastardly deed take place on the return trip.
Perhaps Aspenites in theme costumes would enjoy dining to a theatrical event en route to Glenwood Springs and back. All this and heaven, too?
On behalf of the many residents of Aspen with whom I have spoken who are disturbed by the bus noise pollution, if we have to have these large city buses, we request that the city lower the acceptable standard to reduce the bus noise which spoils the natural beauty and tranquility of our lovely town.
It also makes sense to support the effort to introduce trolley cars to Aspen and light rail between Aspen and Glenwood Springs in order to ensure a less congested and more tranquil and inviting atmosphere for ourselves and our visitors.
It’s time to take action.
Susan C. O’Neal