Trolleys will be a boondoggle
October 25, 2002
The arguments of the trolley advocates are specious and desperate.
John Busch, the most vocal trolley spokesperson, says, “We are first of all a tourist community whose economy is faltering under increased competition in a flat market.”
However, Aspen’s economy will adequately and inevitably improve with an expected, cyclical turnaround in the national economy and a return to normal snowfall levels ? the primary factors influencing our business downturn.
Regarding the implication that the trolleys will bring more tourists: we are a tourist town, and we sometimes need more tourists, but do we really want to become more touristy?
He also states, “They will absolutely enhance our authentic historic character.” What tourists, second-home owners and locals truly miss most about the “good old days” is the loss of a real village feeling. We no longer have the downtown grocery stores, liquor stores, drugstores, bookstores and cafes that characterized our “historic” center.
Downtown revitalizing projects, such as the city’s infill initiative, are meant to help address this problem. To imply the trolleys are part of our history is a reach. Appropriating them from a foreign country is a meager attempt to infuse instant history, using theme-park-attraction tactics.
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Just as the Maroon Bells bathroom boondoggle detracted from the inherent beauty of the Bells, this historically, irrelevant proposal detracts from the essential character of Aspen.
There are several other considerations. The attempt to justify the trolleys on an environmental basis is a non-issue, as the proposed battery or other alternative fuel technologies can eventually be implemented in conventional shuttles.
Also, there has been little discussion of noise pollution. Anyone who has ridden a trolley knows there will be at least some increase in noise levels in the relatively serene downtown.
Finally, bicyclists beware! Crossing a wet rail track is tricky. Bicycling is a preferred mode of transportation in Aspen. Who will be liable for the accidents?
John states, “We have a unique opportunity which comes to us just once. Your vote can make a difference.” It can! Vote no and the trolley issue will disappear.
David and Tanya Fleisher