Letter: The greater good | AspenTimes.com

Letter: The greater good

About 40 years ago, I read Winston Churchill’s six-volume set on Word War II. One takeaway that has remained with me is how Britain shepherded its resources to realize the best results with what it had. After Dunkirk, the Brits were alone in a fight to the death for the survival of freedom. Now, we in Aspen are not quite in that same position, but we are at a critical point in the survival of our town. I question you all, is spending $50 million on a new civic center the best we can do with our resources? What are the biggest challenges we face? I invite you all to really think about this. Fifty million dollars is a lot of money. It can do a lot of good in Aspen. Is a civic center to house 270 employees for eight hours a day the best we can do?

Please envision a civic center against addressing the gridlock of traffic. For decades, our mayors and City Council have enacted auto disincentives. They have taken away on-street parking. They have instigated paid parking in the core. They are enacting pricing to discourage people from parking in the core. I want you all to think about how this has worked. If the goal has been to decrease congestion, has this approach worked? I want you all to think about a big idea: Limit the number of vehicles that pass the roundabout.

Spend $50 million on park-and-ride with electric shuttles into town from parking outside the roundabout. Take the same money, and benefit the entire valley and our guests. It is our choice — benefit 270 employees or the entire valley and guests.

Think about it. In a few years we could have a 52,000-square-foot civic center with the same gridlock or adequate office space and no gridlock.

Ward Hauenstein