What’s the rush?
May 13, 2002
So there it is. The Marolt property, our beautiful open space, is apparently needed for so-called improvements to our mass transit system. As though we haven’t bad mass transit for over 20 years. And from all reports it has been very successful: articulated busses, HOV lanes, a roundabout, etc. – what more could you ask for?
So now we’re looking at moving the familiar, friendly, pedestrian-free Cemetery Lane intersection from an urban setting into town to the corner of 7th and Main, at the end of the tunnel, so to speak.
In keeping with the city/county policy of infill … bringing it all to town, the traffic, the traffic lights, six lanes (through, left and right turn lanes) and mixing it with pedestrians known for their gregarious and pedestrian ways, who will risk life and limb and also need extended walk light periods to make it safely across 7th or Main street.
Remember, we have have and are building multi-family employee housing at both the southeast and northwest comers of 7th and Main, as well as on Hopkins Street. We also have a dedicated pedestrian pathway down 7th Street from the music campus to the music tent.
So now, add the folks from Snowbunny and Cemetery Lane heading downvalley to the airport, AABC, etc., who must drive into town before turning right at the BIG BOX and coming back into town when returning home. It’s going to be a busy intersection.
So in 1947 my highway engineering professor emphasized several basic tenets:
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1. Never build a four-way intersection to take the place of a three-way intersection.
2. Don’t bring any more traffic into town than is absolutely necessary.
3. Keep busy highways out of residential neighborhoods and open space, especially if they duplicate another existing highway.
So a year ago we voted against CDOT’s massive (90-feet-wide) Entrance to Aspen. What happened to that expression to keep Cemetery Lane traffic where it is? Set the record straight: The gridlock, when it does occur, is not the S-curves, but the traffic light at Cemetery Lane, and not much will change if it is moved to 7th and Main. Delta time might be 30 seconds.
So could CDOT do anything to improve the S-curves? YES. They have great engineers and resources and their achievements throughout the state are notable. Six lanes at 12 feet equals 7 2 feet. Piece of cake.
So hear 11-year-old Shannon Dick, whose recent letter to the editor asked us to slow down a bit. Get some rest and time out from highway construction and enjoy the quiet and the projects already completed. After all, things are moving smoothly.
So what? Well, make a phone call or drop a line to your state representative or highway commission member and ask him or her to take the $60 million proposed for Highway 82 and appropriate it somewhere on the Western Slope where it could save lives instead of saving a few seconds or a minute or two coming into Aspen.
What’s the the rush?