Do the math: Four lanes needed to fix Entrance to Aspen

More than 60 percent of Aspen’s registered voters apparently think voting is for suckers. But, perhaps they have a different explanation for sitting out the recent election.

Regardless, there will be no opportunity for improvement in congestion at the Entrance to Aspen until common sense officials are elected — no sooner than May, 2019. This absurd situation was created by the Colorado courts and is worthy of its own discussion.

Highway 82 is a state highway, not a city street, which serves the county seat of Pitkin County and allows access for all Americans to their national forest. Its expansion from Basalt to Aspen was for the purpose of creating capacity increases to relieve congestion (a “project need” which will never be realized until the entrance is expanded), and was paid for using federal funds. The public entities, which should be demanding a change in the policy of the Aspen administration, include the federal and state governments, Pitkin County, and the Town of Snowmass, all of which have an obligation to represent the interests of their jurisdictions.

Among private interests, certainly Aspen Skiing Co. should be taking a lead role, but it had not previously been known to me that the Aspen Institute already has inserted itself in a way which creates a need to rethink its role.

I polled the candidates prior to the election, and the most disturbing response came from Ward Hauenstein. Not because of Ward, but because of his depiction of the Institute’s “Community Forum on Transportation.” According to Ward, forum participants “have agreed to not individually publicly discuss our progress and wait until we have the benefit of full input before offering conclusions.”

Isolating your subjects so they receive no conflicting information is a brainwashing technique. And no wonder, considering the indefensible presentation the Institute’s program is providing. Again, according to Ward, “Transportation consultants have said that you cannot build yourself out of congestion. They say that as soon as there are more lanes to travel on more, people will fill them up.”

The preceding statement isn’t just wrong, it is ludicrous. Two-lane highways don’t have much capacity. Any small- to medium-sized town with more traffic than will fit on a two-lane roadway can build its way out of congestion by adding two additional lanes. It works 100 percent of the time in all circumstances, and throughout the world, because it is a physical impossibility for it not to work.

Seeing a private organization lead a propaganda campaign in support of an irrational small-town transportation policy is so bizarre, it begs a few questions.

Was the Institute the source of this craziness from the beginning? Can everything which has happened be explained by the relationship between Bill Stirling, John Bennett, Bill Tuite, Roy Romer and the Aspen Institute, circa 1991? Have we all been lab rats in a utopian social experiment orchestrated by the Institute?

If so, at least that would make sense.

Jeffrey Evans