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Paper seems to value fodder over facts

Dear Editor:

Having wandered out of town for a few weeks, imagine my surprise at finding out that the Aspen Daily News just simply can’t leave well enough alone. Apparently the collective ego of the place can’t accept being wrong even when being right would result in a colossal pain in the butt for much of the business community (not incidentally their own advertisers) of Aspen.

For everyone who has forgotten, the Aspen Daily News called me out by name for performing a task routinely accomplished by at least a hundred drivers of various courtesy vans, taxis, limos and private vehicles and managed to claim I was doing something illegal in the process.

I cited the Model Traffic Code, which has been adopted by the city of Aspen, to point out that dropping off or picking up of passengers is not defined as parking, stopping or standing. Whatever question the Aspen Daily News put to the Aspen police, who they claim support them in defining serving passengers as “double-parking,” it would appear they phrased that question to get the response they wanted.

This matters to me because it affects my livelihood – but what the hell is the problem at the Aspen Daily News, which can’t even bring itself to do any research when I specifically tell them where to look?

To quote the Model Traffic Code:

“(69) ‘Park’ or ‘parking’ means the standing of a vehicle, whether occupied or not, other than very briefly for the purpose of and while actually engaged in loading or unloading property or passengers.”

“(98) ‘Stand’ or ‘standing’ means the halting of a vehicle, whether occupied or not, other than momentarily for the purpose of and while actually engaged in receiving or discharging passengers.”

If the Aspen Daily News wants to insist on their version, supposedly supplied by “city cops and attorneys,” that it is “illegal to ‘double park’ on any street. That is defined by stopping or parking a vehicle in the roadway,” would it be too much to ask that they supply the statutory source?

As I noted in my first letter, if the Aspen Daily News wants to go on a crusade over the definition of “very briefly” or “momentarily” as used in the Model Traffic Code, they might be able to persuade the city to require everyone looking for passengers to make repeated laps around the block, an alternative that has such obvious negative consequences attached that I shouldn’t need to itemize them.

If it should come to that, I just want everyone to know whom to thank.

Jeffrey Evans

Basalt


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