Letter: Parking problems for bus riders

The article published Jan. 12 “RFTA to crack down on parking” was long overdue. As a daily commuter from El Jebel to Aspen, I can tell firsthand the annoyance of the parking headache facing riders.

To be in Aspen by 8:30 a.m., on most days I catch the 7:30 a.m. rapid-transit bus from El Jebel, putting me in Aspen around 8:15 a.m.

Every morning, I dread the prospect of not finding a parking spot. What’s the purpose of having a park-and-ride when it’s always full? Did the Roaring Fork Transportation Authority not plan for ridership to rise in its 10- or 20-year plan? In the past 50 days, I took the chance of parking next to the edge of the sidewalk (curbside) along with other commuters facing the same dilemma — lack of parking spaces — until one night I came back to find a 5-by-8-inch illegal-parking warning sticker, the hardest stickers to take off. It took just under an hour the following day to remove.

I asked a RFTA staffer why they were handing out warnings when there wasn’t a sign that stated no curbside parking, and his answer was that he couldn’t comment. It figures.

The parking at the Community Center for overflow vehicles is no better. It takes about five minutes to walk from the Community Center to the bus stop. Is this convenient? It really depends on whom you ask. I’m faced with taking the same gamble each morning. Should I play it safe and park at the Community Center and walk? Or should I drive over to the main parking lot to find no spots left and possibly miss the bus?

Instead of RFTA having unmarked vehicles hanging out at various parking lots, for Google knows what reason, why not come out and hear accounts of riders who find using the bus service more of a hassle than an enjoyment? With the aggressive expansion RFTA undertook to rebrand itself, it should aggressively find a solution to the parking problem.

For the record, the scene in “Jurassic Park” where a velociraptor figures out how to turn a doorknob? That is pure fancy. According to dinosaur expert Bob Strauss, velociraptors weren’t the smartest dinosaurs of the Cretaceous Period. Perhaps RFTA should consider changing the name “VelociRFTA.” Or maybe not.

Chris Martinez

El Jebel

Letter to the Editor