Hall: Put that ill-spent money into housing
As a long-time Aspen business owner, I think the beyond-extraordinary amount of money the city wants to spend on their “preferred alternative” for the new straight-shot Highway 82 entrance into our city would be so much better spent on other priorities — most notably close-in employee housing, thus reducing the number of people commuting on Highway 82. Limited housing for the Aspen workforce is literally the No. 1 problem in our community.
Rather than spending money on a new section of Highway 82 that will sever our beautiful Marolt open space and destroy our beloved community garden and not actually solve the traffic problem, the city should more aggressively explore building employee housing, possibly even using some of the Marolt open space land farthest away from Highway 82. This pursuit of employee housing is a far better use of public money than building a five-lane highway that cuts Marolt in half and will negatively impact the beauty and character of our town.
The city would be far better served creating an updated traffic-management plan using the existing bridge and other infrastructure than a massive 15-year plan that will ultimately not improve our inbound-traffic issues in the morning and out-bound traffic issues in the evening.
In fact, with a new choke point at a proposed light at 7th and Main Street, it may push the traffic backups deeper into the heart of our city.
They should also consider removing the lights at Highway 82 and Cemetery Lane, at the entrance to the golf club and at Owl Creek Road and Highway 82, and replace them with new roundabouts.
Many beautiful European mountain towns use multiple roundabouts to deal their traffic-flow issues. In the end, this much lower-cost option will make the entrance to our beautiful city more efficient and beautiful, and there will be millions of dollars left over to invest in our most difficult challenge of affordable employee housing.
Elizabeth Plotke Hall