Wake up and smell the pavement | AspenTimes.com

Wake up and smell the pavement

Dear Editor:As one of the thousands of residents in the El Jebel area that have been bypassed by the new RFTA bike trail, I find myself increasingly irritated by RFTA’s claim that they are unable to locate this trail along Highway 82 where it could be of some real environmentally sound use to everyone all year round because they don’t own this corridor. Like most residents between Catherine Store and Hook’s Lane, I will have to drive several miles either direction to access this trail that leads to nowhere but a wildlife sanctuary while all I want to do is bike to the bus stop, post office, grocery store and other places I’d really like to be able to get to without driving. If our Roaring Fork Transit Agency, and I repeat, TRANSIT AGENCY, is not capable of working with our Colorado Department of Transportation cooperatively to develop environmentally-sound transportation options then I would suggest it’s time for some serious internal restructuring of this agency.Maybe this has something to do with RFTA’s concept of cooperation. Thus far, they have cooperated with the Division of Wildlife by completely ignoring all of their concerns, comments, and even the conditions of the Legacy Project Grant Agreement through which partial funding for this project was provided. They have cooperated with wildlife by obtaining a Categorical Exclusion to prove that there is no wildlife to worry about. They have cooperated with affected adjacent landowners by scoffing at them in public meetings and demonstrating a total disregard private property rights along the corridor. They have topped off these cooperative efforts by announcing publicly to anyone else possibly wanting to cooperate with them that they are above the law and are subject to no state, regional, or local regulation and that they will do pretty much as they damn well please. Maybe RFTA should stick to repairing buses and leave the more important and sensitive issues like this one in more capable and cooperative hands.I’ve been a mule owner for years and love hiking as well. If we could have an environmentally sound horse/hike trail over there (and even that should require an Environmental Assessment) that would be great, but we need a bike trail we can use for a non-motorized transportation alternative. No more pavement!Come on El Jebel – wake up! This is our trail (or at least would be if we could get to it). This is our money they’re spending and we’ll only get one trail. Do we want to sacrifice our wildlife to build Lycra Lane for the seasonal pleasures of the Aspen bike crowd? Or do we want an environmentally sound trail we can actually use? I doubt Aspen would ever allow a trail to bypass their town only to go through their most sensitive wildlife areas. Why are we allowing it?Matt JohnsonEl Jebel

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