Castle Creek Bridge solution
To the Director of the Castle Creek Bridge Project as well as to the Colorado Department of Transportation supervisor of Highway 82:
The needs of people who depend on individual transportation to get in and out of Aspen have been largely ignored by this project. We people typically live outside of Aspen and therefore don’t vote in Aspen, yet we are essential to the functioning of the city.
So, I would like to propose an idea to ease the flow of commercial traffic and public transportation into and out of Aspen as well as to improve public safety in a way that has minimal impact on Aspen’s environment and small town character. I would like to offer this idea as a compromise to assuage the concerns of slow-growth/no-growth conservationists and meet the commercial and public safety needs of today’s Aspen.
Here’s my idea. Widen Highway 82 between the Maroon Creek roundabout and Cemetery Lane from one lane in each direction to two lanes in each direction. Then replace the existing stop light at Cemetery Lane with a new roundabout. This new “Cemetery Lane roundabout” would function like the Maroon Creek roundabout does, funneling traffic efficiently in different directions.
As you envision driving along Highway 82 from the Maroon Creek roundabout onto the new Cemetery Lane roundabout, the next point of entry/exit would be an exit. This exit would take inbound traffic to Aspen via a new, two-lane, one-way highway that would curve along the side of the Marolt Open Space and then cross a new two-lane, one-way bridge over Castle Creek and flow onto West Main Street at Seventh Street. This new second bridge over Castle Creek would funnel inbound traffic into Aspen with a speed limit of 20 MPH, just like the existing 20 MPH speed limit throughout the rest of Aspen.
The next point of entry/exit on the new Cemetery Lane roundabout would be an entry to the roundabout. This point of entry would accommodate outbound traffic from Aspen coming from the old Castle Creek Bridge. The old Castle Creek bridge would become a two-lane, one-way route out of Aspen. Highway 82 from the old Castle Creek Bridge to the new Cemetery Lane roundabout would become two-lane, outbound only. West Main Street between the 7th Street S-Curves and the old Castle Creek Bridge would be become two-lane, one-way, outbound only.
The next point of entry/exit off the new Cemetery Lane roundabout would align with Cemetery Lane and would accommodate traffic into and out of Cemetery Lane with one lane in each direction.
The last point of entry/exit off the new Cemetery Lane roundabout would be an exit and would accommodate down-valley traffic, as the Maroon Creek roundabout does now.
Basically, my idea is to divide our existing Highway 82 into separate, one-way, two-lane routes into and out of Aspen from a new Cemetery Lane roundabout. The new two-lane, inbound “Marolt” route would accommodate inbound traffic to Aspen across a new two-lane one-way bridge. The old Castle Bridge would be dedicated to accommodating Aspen’s outbound traffic. This would eliminate the two-lane-to-one-lane choke points that we live with now and thereby ease the flow of traffic, as well as protect public safety by creating a second major artery into and out of Aspen.
I’m not a civil engineer so I expect I’ve overlooked some key details, but I have enough common sense to see that we need a second major artery into and out of Aspen for commercial traffic, for public transportation and for public safety. We need to start planning this now. Let’s get started.