Where is the vision?
Dear Editor:Re: Andy Stone’s column of Jan. 12 in The Aspen Times titled: “Consider it your meditation time,” Andy was on the mark, or “hit the spike,” so to speak.Yes Andy, times have changed, but not necessarily for the better! The only constant in Aspen is indecision. To paraphrase Marlon Brando, “We could have been somebody” – we had it all! The right of way, funding and consensus. But a few naysayers filled the papers with misinformation and prejudice against a valley rail system. The biggest lie perpetrated was the exaggerated cost of light rail, which continues to this day in almost every news article. In the meantime the commuter sits on a bus in slow-moving traffic. You bought it, so you ride it!RFTA has increased ridership attributed to icy roads and increased fuel costs. But don’t forget to include the corrosive attributes of mag chloride. Any person with car sense will avoid the black hole and corrosion of mag chlor. I dread driving on Highway 82 and avoid it as much as possible. Better to be on a bus than in your car, just from a corrosive point of view. The best friend RFTA has is mag chlor. It may make the highway safer for the traffic, but it is also hell on cars! And buses, too! But the feds will help RFTA to buy more buses! It’s only money!Meanwhile our RFTA board is pulling up the rail for scrap and putting in a bike trail, for commuters? How many bicyclists are commuting to Aspen? Especially in the winter! Where is the need? Where is the vision? The time will come when future generations will cry out in anger against the decision to take up the tracks for a recreational bike trail – what a waste! To discard our transportation future for salvage dollars is only a ploy to mollify the trail interests. I believe RFTA has no intention to ever build light rail. I believe they intend to operate a bus system as a less-expensive alternative. So, we will continue to suffer environmental and traffic consequences far into the future.Our mayor recently commented that commuter rail would spur growth. I remind her that the growth is already here! The traffic is real and there’s no escaping it! We are being shortsighted in looking at only a bus solution. A suggestion to build a parking lot for special events will only serve to create more highway traffic. For the record, the city purchased the Cozy Point Ranch to preserve open space. It was not the intention for open space to serve as a parking lot for the X Games.In our haste to promote Aspen, we must be careful not to destroy the very values and essence of the community all of us love. Old values and new ideas are beginning to conflict; but it has always been thus. Jim MarkalunasAspen
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