October 14, 2002
In a recent edition of the Aspen Daily News, Tony Hershey is quoted as saying ?by straightening the curves without adding extra highway lanes, the speed of traffic flow would be increased by 30 percent.?
Here is a direct excerpt from a summary of the Environmental Impact Study presented on Sept. 27, 2001, by Assistant City Manager Randy Ready: “Two general traffic lanes plus two transit lanes on the modified direct alignment would allow traffic to move 50 percent faster (24 mph versus 16 mph) between Buttermilk and Aspen.” (Nine minutes to six minutes). “Total driving time would be reduced by 34 percent due to the elimination of the S-curves and the removal of the buses from pulling into and out of traffic.”
The fallacy in Mr. Hershey?s statement is that the 3-minute time savings was all the way from Buttermilk to 7th and Main. Some of the time has already been saved by completion of the highway between Buttermilk and the roundabout. The time saved between the roundabout and 7th and Main Street is significantly less, and is further reduced by the signal lights on Main Street.
Also, the three minutes CDOT refers to assumes that there are four lanes including dedicated bus lanes. Tom McCabe promised that there will never be four lanes of pavement or he would ?blow up the bridge,? and Aspen voters rejected dedicated bus lanes in 2001.