Save the trolleys
March 28, 2002
Last Tuesday night the Aspen City Council, in a vote of 4-1 (thank you, Terry Paulson), simply and almost criminally gave away a hugely valuable resource and future heritage owned by the people of Aspen.
The six 1915-era antique trolley cars brought to Aspen 24 years ago for use as a future inter-city transport are to be given up by our shortsighted public officials to other U.S. and Canadian cities, who will incorporate them into their popular and already existing trolley systems.
“Lack of citizen enthusiasm” is the cited cause of this trolley giveaway by a council who stridently advocates the use of (air polluting) buses and shuttles as the best present and future in-town transportation concept. “Electric trolleys (with an overhead wire) just won’t work, now or forever!” Thank you for that gem, Tony Hershey.
Twenty-five years ago, in the era of Mayor Standley, the council and commissioners struggled with the question of four-laning Highway 82. Now, as we approach the smoggy dawn of unlimited freeway car access to Aspen, I think back on the wisdom or inevitability of those 1970s government decisions.
Twenty-five years from now, when the possibility of not being able to see the top of Red Mountain for the air pollution, will we be saying, “Gosh, I wish we had installed non-polluting trolleys? Remember the give-away trolley vote of the ’02 City Council? Tony, Tom, Tim and Helen, known more for their housecleaning moves than for their abilities to look into the future? Let’s erect a brass plaque to them for preserving the smog that we so enjoy!”
But back to the here and now: Only a concerted public outcry – right now – will save our heirloom trolleys for Aspen’s future.
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Is the City Council right?
Do we care enough to reverse their decision?
Write a letter, sign a petition, call a council person, or there but for the fortune we go.