The good and the bad of Aspen City Hall
September 16, 2008
We really must hand it to the folks at Aspen City Hall. They work diligently to solve local problems, using everything from street signs to buses to interactive public meetings to make Aspen a better place to live. There is rarely a shortage of ideas coming out of 130 S. Galena St.
Sometimes city officials nail a problem perfectly, but sometimes they blow it and actually create more problems than they started with. Today we spotlight an example of each.
First, it appears the city plans to make permanent the one-way traffic directive on three blocks of Cooper Avenue and Galena Street downtown. When this idea was first proposed a few months ago, we scoffed, thinking the move another way for bureaucrats to keep themselves busy. But we’ve been pleasantly surprised at the additional parking created by the move, and the relative calm of having just one slow-moving parade of automobiles through the heart of the commercial core.
So, chalk one up for the traffic and parking engineers at City Hall. They managed to improve a congested and deservedly popular area of town.
Unfortunately, the City Council has hatched another plan that threatens to outweigh the headway recently accomplished in the core. Council members recently asked Assistant City Manager Randy Ready to create a plan that would make it illegal to turn left onto Cemetery Lane from Power Plant Road during the afternoon rush hour.
The idea is to prevent commuters from taking the “back road” through the West End and skirting the congestion on Main Street.
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We understand the frustrations of West End residents who are having to tolerate levels of traffic they once thought unimaginable. But it’s unfair to punish hundreds of commuting workers every day to preserve the peace and quiet of a few. These are public streets, after all, and they don’t exist for the private pleasure of West Enders, though it must have felt that way for a long time.
This half-baked solution will only deepen the backups on Main Street and enrage the commuting workers who help make Aspen go. It isn’t worth the cost to pay the officers who will have to enforce it.
We applaud city officials for a good idea on the one-way streets downtown, but urge them to back away from the ill-advised and punitive proposal out west.