Plan for the future | AspenTimes.com

Plan for the future

This is my last letter to the editor on the Entrance to Aspen issue. It is also my last opportunity to urge the voters of Aspen to please support the only true solution ? the modified-direct alignment.

It would be difficult to find a more reactionary position than that held by Citizens for Small town Entrance. They may be against new bridges but it appears they would like to build at least one new bridge ? a drawbridge over Castle Creek, raised.

I have also never seen a more disingenuous advertising campaign than the one put on by the Small Town Entrance group: A bleeding Aspen leaf with a sniper’s bullet through it? Does that mean if I support the “straight shot” I want to kill Aspen?

A photograph of cars in Eisenhower Tunnel (a tunnel built through a mountain that is over 1.7 miles long)? Hardly an accurate representation of a 400-foot cut-and-cover tunnel.

We get attacks, misinformation and vilifications instead of explanations. Tell us why we should vote one way or another. Tell us your solutions. Give us the facts. Make your case and let the voters decide. But do it without the lies, hyperbole and personal attacks.

Aspen has grown a lot in the last three decades. It is certainly not the same place it was when my family moved here in 1975. It is even much different then it was in 1985, or even 1995, and I imagine it will be different 10 years from now.

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Aspen has grown because it is a very beautiful and exciting place to live. It is this attractiveness that brought many people here and now some of those same people want it to be exactly the same as it was when they arrived.

But with each new citizen comes new demands for services and new workers to provide those services. Today, we are all responsible for the increased traffic and the new growth.

Aspen is the labor magnet of the Roaring Fork Valley. And with that need for additional workers and services comes the new and larger responsibility to provide those workers with a safe and easy commute. We created the jobs, we created the demand and we must provide the solution.

We may think of ourselves as a small town but, in fact, we are a mid-sized city. At the height of the winter season our population swells to approximately 20,000 to 25,000 people, not including the commuters who work here every day.

A successful resort like Aspen needs an entrance commiserate with its true size. Not a “small town entrance,” but an entrance that accommodates all our residents, visitors and employees. That entrance is the modified-direct alignment, and it must be built.

As an elected official I need to look to, and prepare for, the future. A vote for the current S-curves alignment does nothing to prepare for a future that will include change and growth.

Working together we can provide for and accommodate those inevitable changes. Please don’t pull up the drawbridge. Let us all move forward with a transportation solution that works for everyone.

Please vote for the modified-direct alignment on Nov. 5.

Tony Hershey

Aspen City Councilman