There are better solutions
May 13, 2002
The Aspen Times omitted from their May 8 cover story that the loudest proponents of the straight shot stand to gain the most because they live on the present alignment.
There’s no question that putting a massive highway and bridge in my face ignited my passions. But the Aspen Times knows little about me.
In the past 13 years my company provided resort marketing services to hotels on South Padre Island, Mexico, Brazil, Argentina and, at one time, Snowmass. My firm is responsible for filling thousands of hotel rooms each year. I’d say that gives me some insight into the needs of resort communities.
In the ’70s, this town wouldn’t think of allowing chain stores or restaurants because the town didn’t want to ruin its unique character. Can we now accept a big city tunnel and highway?
Aspen’s guests come here to get away from civilization, and they are declining in number. Our bed base is also declining dramatically, we refused to enlarge the airport and our economy is shifting from tourism to development.
Guests come for our intellectual and artistic organizations and for our recreation. Recreation and open space is a commodity like oil. It is not an infinite resource. When we develop every last acre and pave over our parks, we will no longer be marketable to tourists or second-home owners.
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Tony Hershey, Tom McCabe and Tim Semrau feel Aspen needs faster mass transit. Is mass transit needed for the resort workforce? I thought we were building affordable housing here in Aspen for them. We certainly don’t need mass transit for the development workforce. They drive up individually in trucks. And what’s going to happen to the development workforce when there’s no place left to build?
Will a straight shot really save 30 seconds for a faster commute with all those new signals on Main Street? I worked in Glenwood Springs for three years and wouldn’t think of taking the bus. It takes an hour and a half to get to Glenwood.
The downvalley commute is slowed 20-30 minutes as both the local and express buses circulate through Basalt and Carbondale. Feeder buses could circulate through Basalt and Carbondale neighborhoods to bring commuters out to Route 82 bus stops. That would cut those 20 minutes off the commute.
Why aren’t solutions like this put into effect before paving and tunneling a massive entrance into our resort?
Some members of local government have been buying into CDOT facts that are truly questionable. In the ’70s I read a demographic report about Aspen that stated 28 percent of Aspenites had a Master’s degree or better. It’s time local government gave voters credit for our intelligence and not decide this issue for us.