Turn up the heat on CDOT
September 19, 2008
Each new traffic signal that sprouts up on Highway 82 is yet another sign of sprawl in the Roaring Fork Valley, but it would nice if the devices actually worked.
A case in point is the stoplight at Highway 82 and Harmony Place, which connects to the Burlingame Ranch affordable-housing development. According to Fred Brooks, transportation director for the Aspen School District, the light has been problematic for two years.
Brooks said he has contacted the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) to complain about the signal, but it continues to remain stuck on red ” sometimes longer than five minutes ” for motorists trying to turn left out of Harmony Place onto Highway 82.
The situation got so bad that students taking the bus have been late to school, and Brooks even told his bus drivers to run the red light it they are stuck and there’s no cross traffic on the highway. That’s what bus driver Von Weissenstein did Aug. 28, but a passenger in the bus behind Weissenstein saw her run the red light and reported it to police.
Weissenstein appeared in Aspen Municipal Court on Wednesday to plead “no contest” to the charge. Brooks was there, too, and told Judge Brooke Peterson about the persistent problems at the light.
Peterson was somewhat sympathetic, but he told Weissenstein and Brooks that running the red light is not the answer. Instead, Brooks told them to call the Aspen Police Department, which would in turn contact CDOT about the problem.
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While there’s nothing wrong with the judge’s advice, we are not so convinced CDOT will be quick to respond. Brooks and Weissenstein are not the only ones who have complained about this problematic traffic signal, but the problem remains.
This means it’s probably time to turn up the heat on CDOT. The next time you seen problems with that light or others, call (303) 866-3848 or (800) 268-8092. Maybe after enough complaints, CDOT will find time to fix the traffic signal so kids get to school on time and bus drivers aren’t running reds and going to court.