S-curves group presents ideas | AspenTimes.com

S-curves group presents ideas

One consensus was clear at Wednesday’s meeting of the S-curves task force: The group needs more time to decide how to improve the Entrance to Aspen.

The 13-member group agreed to add two additional meetings to its schedule, hopefully making a recommendation on improved traffic flow to the Aspen City Council in October. For the next meeting, an engineering consultant will present the pros and cons of how many lanes should run through the S-curves.

The task force has split into two subcommittees, and a spokesperson from each presented recommendations on the subjects of traffic capacity issues and access points and safety.

Kip Wheeler, spokesperson for the S-curves access group, presented the group’s suggestions for alleviating traffic from side streets that feed into the S-curves. Traffic barriers could block cars from taking short cuts to Highway 82 through the West End on Bleeker and Hallam, and any bus stops along Seventh Street could be eliminated, he said.

Since the S-curves are an “artery to Aspen,” access should be limited, Wheeler said. That means possibly permitting left turns only at Bleeker Street for traffic leaving town, and left turns at Seventh Street for traffic entering town.

The group would like a no-parking section on both sides of Main Street to be extended either a couple of blocks down the street, or all the way to Aspen Street, to make room for bus traffic.

The recommendations also include improving the pedestrian crosswalk at Eighth Street, possibly by moving the crosswalk to the east side of the intersection with Highway 82. The group would like a wider sidewalk on the Castle Creek bridge, and a new design to make the bridge more aesthetically pleasing as part of Aspen’s entrance.

Several ideas are in the works for the highway’s intersection with Cemetery Lane – including designs that don’t include a traffic signal, but allow through traffic to go straight through the intersection while traffic coming out of Cemetery Lane is limited to right turns.

The group tossed around the idea of connecting Cemetery Lane with the existing roundabout in order to completely eliminate the intersection of Cemetery Lane and Highway 82, but ultimately decided that since the resulting project would reach beyond the scope of CDOT’s right of way in the area, it wasn’t a project worth looking into.

According to engineering consultant Nick Senn of Glenwood Springs-based Turner Collie and Braden, although Cemetery Lane could be routed in the right of way to run parallel to Highway 82, it would pass into either open space or golf course property on a curve into the roundabout.

Bill Wiener, from the task force’s capacity subcommittee, presented several ideas his group has come up with to increase traffic flow, such as creating a third, reversible lane over the Castle Creek bridge for bus traffic.

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