Entrance to Aspen: a simple problem that nobody will fix

My apologies to Jerry Bovino for being too busy to notice his letter a week or two ago commenting on me and the Entrance to Aspen (“Is traffic necessary for preservation?’, Jan. 8, 2017, The Aspen Times).

Jerry’s letter begins with an inaccuracy. He claims I have “effectively beaten the drum for an improved Entrance to Aspen.” No, I have been totally ineffective, as evidenced by the fact that the entrance is still only two lanes wide.

One of the ace cards of proponents of the status quo is the total silence of Aspen residents who could effectively lead the community to fix the problem. Until they step forward, it continues to appear that everyone is just happy as can be with the current state of the entrance — other than that one crazy guy down in Basalt.

The entrance is an ugly, polluting mess five days a week for about six months of the year. The traffic jam is the one feature of the town which makes Aspen seem more urban than it really is, and Jerry wants to preserve it because the community has “a moral responsibility to make decisions that keep Aspen a beautiful and charming place.” Ah yes, what could be more beautiful and charming than West Main Street at 4 p.m.?

The rest of the Bovino letter appears to be satire, or at least one can hope. Histrionic analogies are employed to suggest that the S-curves are historic resources along the lines of the Hotel Jerome or Wheeler Opera House. But to be effective, a satirical analogy should make a comparison which has a core element of truth. For example, if Aspen had taken the same approach to preserving small-town character with its sewage system, there would be solid waste backed up all over town during both high seasons. Bovino represents the contingent that would argue that the stench was an essential component of Aspen’s character, and that visitors would appreciate the need to just hold it until they got home.

Aspen needs a mayor and two council members who will fix the highway at the Entrance to Aspen. Physically, it is one of the simplest problems — with the most obvious solution — which any community has ever faced. Nominating petitions can be picked up at the city clerk’s office beginning Jan. 31, and require collection of the signatures of 25 Aspen registered voters by March 13.

I can assist any qualified candidate to learn the technical and legal background information necessary to counter all of the false “substantive” claims of the opposition. You will be on your own responding to silly comparative arguments like Bovino’s: “a multiplex could effectively replace the Wheeler Opera House.”

Jeffrey Evans