Taming the stampede | AspenTimes.com

Taming the stampede

I drove the S-curves yesterday in 13 seconds.

If added, the new traffic light will probably stop you for 40 seconds, trapping you maybe 25 percent of the time, losing an average of 10 seconds.

That 3-second price is a small one to pay for forcibly slowing the previous 70 mph driver, many of them inexperienced tourists. I actually enjoy the brief rhythm of the curves.

Traffic jams are NOT caused by brief slowdowns. They ARE caused by limited “throughput” per hour.

HOV lanes require massive enforcement to work, for they are unnatural and irritating if near-empty at high-traffic hours. They are inevitably used by impatient solo drivers. An HOV cop’s lot is not a happy one. Recent court cases favored cheating drivers. I believe “HOV” is a well understood ploy to smuggle in extra auto lanes.

Many of our neighborhood roads have huge and violent speed bumps to physically tame speeding instincts. Should we also remove those?

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Should we spend years of snarled highway construction traffic again? More than $50 million of someone’s money? Merely to save three seconds, lose our fortuitous little entrance “dance,” plunge our mountain-view seekers into black tunnels, iron ourselves into ever more mechanical mediocrity, and risk our pedestrian’s lives?

Over 10 years, with 20,000 crossings per day on average, we’ll see 75 million of them. But, at $50 million to save three seconds, that 70 cents per trip will mean you are costing Colorado $840 per hour for the privilege! Couldn’t we ask for more useful favors?

Let’s keep our town interesting and unique. Let physical limits control our vehicles, not legislative ones.

Please vote to keep the S-curves.

They are a nifty way of taming the stampede.

Nick DeWolf

Aspen