Editorial: Still seeking an Entrance to Aspen solution | AspenTimes.com

Editorial: Still seeking an Entrance to Aspen solution

The Entrance to Aspen hasn’t been studied for 10 years, and now the city will spend another $500,000 to study it once again.

Tongue-in-cheek comments from local residents include a lot of jabs at elected officials — it’s a waste of money, it’s been done before, proposed solutions will never get implemented, etc.

While the traffic jam into and out of Aspen on most business days is obvious, we can’t support implementing solutions without new data available. With light rail as one focus of this new study, including several elected officials expressing their opposition to rail, the expenditure seems misguided. Elected Officials Transportation Committee Chairman Michael Owsley said himself that the study “is not about implementing; it’s about knowing.”

Anybody who’s been stuck in the S-curves knows already that gridlock is one of Aspen’s most serious problems. But it doesn’t just affect Aspenites — commuters deal with it daily, and tourists must put up with it.

Say the study concludes that either light rail, an expanded bus service or the so-called straight shot through the Marolt Open Space is the panacea to our traffic woes. Then what is next? Dozens of votes have been taken regarding the Entrance to Aspen, with a little chipping away while the problem persists.

History tells us that another study, or even vote, would not lead to a solution. But for elected officials to sit by idly is a self-defeating attitude.

And therein lies the rub: Paying nearly $500,000 for a study might seem like a waste of money. But a do-nothing approach means elected officials have simply given up.

We hope that the study leads to progress with the Entrance to Aspen. The problem that we fear, however, is that Aspen has reached its capacity. And as long as that’s the status quo, the same will be said about our gridlock.

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