dePagter: Looks like a disaster to me
The “Preferred Alternative” is the straight shot, just rebranded to give it a more palatable name. Five lanes of pavement and a tunnel plowing through our protected Marolt Open Space. Please don’t be taken in by the images the city passes around — green and lush, with lots of trees. It will be nothing of the sort. The “Preferred Alternative” will be a gigantic project, out of community character, size and scale, more suited for Los Angeles than Aspen.
And please note: The city of Aspen has admitted this project will do nothing to ease traffic congestion.
In this convoluted configuration, there will be a new traffic light at 7th and Main. Why? Because the current Highway 82 section from Cemetery Lane to the roundabout will be gone, reclaimed in an attempt to mitigate open space. Cemetery Lane residents who wish to exit town will need to drive back across the old Castle Creek Bridge, stop at the light at 7th and Main, cross the new bridge and go through the tunnel.
Obviously, the light at 7th and Main will back up traffic down Main Street just as the Cemetery Lane light does now, and the West End sneak will continue to be an appealing option for drivers, though now they will just continue down Cemetery Lane and over McClain Flats Road.
Over 70% of Aspen voters voted to continue funding open space purchases. Why would we give away what we already have?
Putting together an emergency evacuation plan now is important. Neighborhoods should be given their appropriate exit routes. This should include the Rio Grande Trail a former railroad bed; the Marolt pedestrian bridge, built strong enough for fire trucks, can be a vehicular emergency exit; the Maroon Creek pedestrian bridge, also built strong enough for emergency vehicles; and of course Power Plant Road. That’s six lanes going west and two lanes going east to exit Aspen. Exits that are available now.
The Castle Creek Bridge will revert back to the city and Aspen taxpayers, including all maintenance, and possible bridge replacement.