Rail support means no rail or trail
Dear Editor:It’s about supporting common sense on trails and rails!Dorothea Farris got it right: Support rail in the future but don’t miss out on great trails for the next several decades or century. Many people support the concept of rail, it just isn’t a politically or economically viable option. Most trail advocates have no problem with rails, but no viable commercial train option exists. If RFTA struggles financially with the lowest cost option (buses), how do you think very expensive trains will be more economical? When and IF rails (trains) make economic sense, trails can be relocated. In the meantime we will have decades or centuries of great paved trails. The best economic use for the Rio Grande is a paved biking and hiking trail to attract tourists and improve the quality of life in this valley in this decade and this century. The Rio Grande between Aspen and Glenwood is an untapped tourist attraction. The Glenwood Springs Chamber of Commerce has shown that 12 percent of visitors come to Glenwood for biking and they spend an average of $602 per person. The economic impact of paved trails in undeniable. Pave the trail and you will see a surge and steady flow of bikers using the trail and Wingo Junction bridge. The proof is easy to see in Glenwood, Vail, Breckenridge, etc. Look at the number of cyclists riding bikes on the paved Glenwood Canyon or the paved trail between Vail and Breckenridge. Take a lesson from the Euros who pave trails to encourage use, promote commuting (by bike) and promote health. Visit the Woody Creek Tavern and look at how many bikes are road (skinny) tires versus mountain bikes.Road bikes outnumber mountain bikes. When the Rio Grande is paved past Slaughterhouse Bridge you will see a major increase in users there, too. Currently most bikers travel to Woody Creek and Basalt via McClain Flats Road to avoid the soft trails. In the summer, we have all seen tourists riding their bikes on Highway 82 between Aspen and Woody Creek, which is ridiculous and unsafe.A paved Rio Grande will also attract more tourists and serve as an improved commuter line. As long as Aspen City Council and rail advocates fight for rails we will have neither rails nor trails. Stupid and sad, isn’t it?George TrantowBasalt
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