Letter: RFTA’s plan goes too far | AspenTimes.com

Letter: RFTA’s plan goes too far

RFTA’s plan goes too far

In all the excitement over whether the Aspen City Council can grant variances or not, the upvalley papers have failed to address a rather important document put forth by the Roaring Fork Transportation Authority regarding the Rio Grande Trail. The proposed access-control plan will affect all existing and future crossings of the Rio Grande Trail along its entire length from Woody Creek to Glenwood Springs. In short, RFTA is “rail banking” the corridor to ensure that it can be used for freight or commuter rail in the future.

Both the Garfield County commissioners and the Glenwood Springs City Council have slammed RFTA’s plan for overreaching, with good reason. This plan directly affects everyone whose driveway crosses the Rio Grande Trail, who has a gate that fronts the trail or who would like to access undeveloped property across the trail. If you have a gate, it’s a “crossing” and RFTA can remove it and charge you. If you have a change of use on your property — perhaps you add a barn to your lot — you will be required to upgrade your crossing. If RFTA converts the corridor to rail use, then you will be required to pay to have your current crossing upgraded to its design standards. If you want to access your property and don’t currently have a crossing, you have to find someone else’s crossing, close that and make your new one meet RFTA’s design standards.

The design standards are the most onerous part — RFTA is requiring grade-separated interchanges capable of accommodating railway freight cars.

Given the amount of time and money spent to ensure that rail did not happen in this valley, and the number of very large and expensive homes next to the Rio Grande Trail, it seems pointless to “rail bank” the corridor and subject property owners to these standards. Unless a miracle happens, rail isn’t going to happen here — nohow, no way.

The comment period for the access plan ends Saturday. Read the documents at http://www.rfta.com/traildocs.html, and send in your comments.

Mary Holley


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Vote for Kimbo Brown-Schirato for council. She’s the right choice at the right time for Aspen. She listens, works extremely well with others, and she’s effective.

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