The Split-Shot solution |

The Split-Shot solution

Dear Editor:I attended both sessions of the Entrance to Aspen community meetings last week, and they were a microcosm of 30-plus years of debate, discussions and votes. It seems people’s positions are organized around: Preserve Marolt Open Space, the Preferred Alternative (Straight Shot), “Please, Not in My Neighborhood,” Buses are the Answer, Improve What We Have, and “Don’t You Get It – It’s Light Rail.”There is an opportunity to look at another alternative. The “Split-Shot solution” I offer is, I hope, a reasonable compromise. It will not please everyone, and it has details to be worked out, but it addresses a number of issues which continue to be of concern.The “Split Shot” proposal provides for four lanes, minimizes impact to Marolt Open Space, requires only a (new) two-lane bridge over Castle Creek, preserves the Marolt historic buildings, eliminates the need for a traffic light at Seventh and Main, and provides for light rail. This proposal addresses short term, midterm and long-term solutions. (To view a map of the proposal, go to my website,, and click on the Entrance to Aspen page under “Projects.”)The Split-Shot solution:1. Replace the traffic light at Cemetery Lane with a roundabout or a grade-change type intersection.2. Provide four lanes of traffic from Buttermilk (from a potential transit hub) through the existing roundabout to the Cemetery Lane intersection.3. From Cemetery Lane, traffic goes in an out of town on two separate alignments.4. From the new interchange at Cemetery Lane there would be two lanes of traffic into Aspen (one way) along Castle Creek (avoiding most of the Marolt Open Space); then across Castle Creek on a new two-lane bridge that aligns with Main Street. This brings only two lanes through the Seventh Street neighborhood.5. Two lanes of traffic outbound (one way), on the existing S-curves over the existing Castle Creek Bridge.6. Design this new alignment (radius of curvature and grade change) to accommodate light rail, and provide a mass transit easement.With four lanes to work with, short-term, midterm and long-range transportation strategies can be integrated such as bus/HOV lanes. We should pursue fixes starting right now that will improve the situation. This will buy some time while a more permanent solution is implemented. At the same time we should build with our future in mind. Short-term: sequence the traffic lights, improve the S-curves, build more roundabouts. Midterm: the Split-Shot Solution. Long-term: light rail with a transit hub(s), gondola connections between the four ski mountains that are connected to transit hubs (at Buttermilk, Snowmass and Aspen).Michael Fuller Aspen

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