Aarons: Preferred Alternative will make it worse
To all voters — especially any who have viewed the city’s presentation about the proposed Preferred Alternative: be aware it is highly inaccurate. For example, the city’s rendering conveniently airbrushes adjacent neighborhoods out of the picture, eliminating over 40 residences, as well as a substantial number of parking spaces. This is not educational. It’s propaganda.
Consider just traffic. Unsaid in the presentation is that CDOT and the city’s engineer have acknowledged that this is not going to improve the traffic problem. It will actually make matters worse because all traffic, including Cemetery Lane, will funnel to the intersection at 7th and Main, where a new traffic light and, presumably, bus stops and pedestrian crossings will be placed. The evening rush-hour backup will extend deeper into the core of town. It will exacerbate traffic in all contiguous areas, as vehicles will still seek to escape the bottleneck.
In the last vote, both city and county (2002) favored the S-curves and rejected the Preferred Alternative (likewise the Dec. 19 Aspen Times survey). The city totally ignores this history.
The shocking lack of transparency, suppression of many facts, and selectivity of communication raise the question as to why this is being pushed at this time by the city. Anyone who lives anywhere in Aspen or commutes should approach the presentation with great skepticism. The city would do better to withdraw the proposal and concentrate on plans to rebuild the Castle Creek Bridge and make improvements to traffic flow that are not destructive and invasive.
If the city still insists on putting its proposed five-lane highway to a vote, it should be roundly rejected for no other reason (which the city refuses to address) than that it represents the last nail in the coffin of Aspen’s unique small-town character.