Stop the insanity | AspenTimes.com

Stop the insanity

I can remain silent no longer; I want to go on public record concerning this catastrophe that is about to happen before it’s too late. Fellow Aspenites awake!

The Entrance to Aspen debacle seems about to be “traffic” jammed down our collective throats because of a theoretical “last chance for the money” deadline from the state. I don’t buy it.

Stop for a moment, PLEASE! I have a major problem with the plan for this project. I strongly feel if we allow this to happen we will be stuck with the horrible outcome forever.

1. We now don’t need a “straight shot” because a train is never, ever going down Main Street.

2. Our existing entrance is “classic.” The local topography works perfectly to announce the edge of and entrance to town.

As the golf course ends and Cemetery Lane comes in from the left and Marolt’s elevated pastureland ends on the right, the road drops and narrows as it crosses the river and slows, naturally entering a passage of sorts that announces a new environment (In our case a truly special town).

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Wide-open spaces narrow to tree-lined streets. The S-curves add to the change of pace. With the straight shot you’d be at City Market before you knew it (See Glenwood Springs).

3. The proposed remedy to an almost fine situation is utterly ridiculous. But it totally escapes me that no one yet has gone ballistic on a major factor of this future fiasco, what with all the enlightened design-type folks in town, so I guess I’ll have to.

THE 400-FOOT TUNNEL! Let’s study this for a minute … Hello? A 400-foot tunnel entrance to town? This is not Detroit! This is not Los Angeles! How did we get here?

Yes, they’ve planned a 400-foot highway underpass across the Marolt open space. Please, let’s reconsider. Remember when Maroon Creek Golf Club/Course (another city/county debacle) was built and the developers built big berms to hide Highway 82?

All the people that drive past the course could no longer enjoy the vista across the pastures to the north (across county property). The public protested and the club eventually compromised the berm’s size a little (Thanks).

Anyway, losing that little bit of view had an adverse affect on the feeling and view from that stretch of road. Do we really want the vistas across the Marolt open space to be replaced with vertical concrete and dark shadows?

Imagine what it will be like if we spend the rest of our time here driving in and out of town through a FREEWAY UNDERPASS 400 feet long. It’s not going to be the same, ever again, trust me.

The visionaries that saved Marolt in the first place were the heroes. The committee that came up with this tunnel idea was trying to save the open space from a modern highway (does the term “design by committee” mean anything to you? The worst! [See Truscott]).

Nice try but IT WON’T WORK! You end up killing both partners, pardner. The people we’re saving the open space for will be using and looking at this ugly tunnel every day. The dirt cover on the tunnel that’s supposed to pass as open space will be a token bandage on a huge scar.

A TUNNEL INTO TOWN? Please stop this insanity. I can’t believe anyone with an iota of design sense and imagination can’t see how this train wreck will turn out. This is important!

Imagine bringing anyone to Aspen after this is built and trying to explain how beautiful the entrance and the Marolt property used to be. This is all left over from the train and does more harm than good. The traffic jam that we endure occasionally is just fine until a solution with a much less negative impact can be found.

Anyway, the “Quiet Years” ahead without all the tourists and construction traffic won’t be busy enough to generate enough traffic to jam.

But I digress … CITY COUNCIL, PLEASE THINK AGAIN. Would one of the three council members supporting this fiasco please change your mind? Tim, Tom or Tony, please don’t let this happen on your watch.

Thank you for your public service.

Mark P. Hesselschwerdt

Aspen

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