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The greening of Aspen

Dear Editor:Ah, the greening of Aspen. It seems that our air is being polluted by greenhouse gases (the automobile) at a rate far higher than is the norm for a town our size. The mayor has made greenhouse gas reduction a priority. While I don’t see some measures as anything more than window dressing, such as extending paid parking farther into the residential area, I do admire the mayor’s resolve.Sunday evening’s “60 Minutes” featured a very convincing segment on global warming – and guess what one of the main culprits is? I think there is a growing acceptance even among those outside the scientific community that what they have been trying to tell us is true. Pity that our president is in such a state of denial. What can we do about it here in the Roaring Fork Valley? Here are a few suggestions:Let us start planning now for a mass transit system that is a real answer, not just another stopgap measure. Bus rapid transit is not the answer. It still uses fossil fuel. It still is rubber tires on roads that stir up particulate pollution (dust). Even though RFTA in its wisdom has just sold off the rail in the valley corridor, we must start planning for light rail now.Let me digress just a moment. Many people look to science as the savior. Hydrogen fuel for cars is being discussed, and in our wishful thinking we out of hand dismiss major problems that make such a solution nigh on impossible or at least impractical. Hydrogen power, however, may be more practical as a method of generating electricity which is easily transported. Electrically propelled mass transit is the answer.Will it make the private auto obsolete? No. They may be electric but will likely not be very practical for long-distance commuting. We’ll still need mass transit. While only related in a negative way, there is a movement afoot here to re-examine the “straight-shot” Entrance to Aspen. It is negative in that anything that makes it easier to drive just means more people will drive – and that, folks, is a fact borne out by studies all across this nation.So we come back to mass transit and the car, too, both now and in the future. I recently suggested that the best place for Aspen parking is on the Marolt property at the edge of town. It’s close enough that one could walk if necessary. With parking there we could also see the beginning of a light rail system – a frequent and convenient shuttle to and from town. I hope you will agree that this is a concept worth exploring. Aspen has always been a very divided community, and yet if we come together and get behind something we can be very powerful indeed. I hope the “greening” of Aspen is really going to happen and that it will be something embraced by the rest of the valley.Jon BuschAspen


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