S-curves group looks for quick fix
Aspen Times Staff Writer
The task force studying ways to improve traffic flow through the S-curves has done away with the concept of midterm solutions, setting its sights instead on what can be done soonest with the least amount of money.
At its Wednesday meeting, the S-curves task force began to review a draft of the findings they will present to the City Council in November. Their proposed solutions include limiting side-street access and prohibiting left turns from Cemetery Lane onto Highway 82.
As committee member Tom McCabe put it, the group has “solved all the noncontroversial issues” and established all the things they could agree on to minimize backups in the main entrance to Aspen.
But the group acknowledges that none of the solutions are cut-and-dry – committee members John Doremus and David Hyman said they’ve heard numerous complaints from Cemetery Lane residents about having to travel west on Highway 82 and go around the roundabout before going east into Aspen.
“The people I talked to intend to raise Cain over this,” Doremus said. “They will end up using Power Plant Road instead, because they can’t conceive of going the other way to get to town.”
But the group will keep its recommendation to prohibit left turns out of Cemetery Lane, saying that people will eventually get used to a change that speeds up traffic.
While the task force had planned on presenting a series of “midterm” solutions for preventing traffic jams in the not-so-soon but not-so-distant future, they ultimately decided Wednesday to stick with recommendations they can agree on. Because the time line of “midterm” solutions was never entirely established, the group threw out the concept.
They do, however, plan to offer a number of other solutions that don’t fit their mission statement of “feasible alternatives.” Those other solutions are considered potential next steps that would need more study. Included on the list is the possibility of a reversible third lane on Castle Creek Bridge to accommodate rush hour traffic.
The group has decided not to recommend any further studies of creating four lanes through the S-curves. One last meeting has been scheduled for Oct. 29.
Tom McCabe, a previous supporter of realigning the highway across the open fields between the roundabout and Castle Creek, and Donna Fisher, who has campaigned against changing the alignment, will present the report to the City Council next month.
[Naomi Havlen’s e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org]
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