Letter: Time for rail
Highway 82 has surpassed its capacity for moving the masses into and out of Aspen efficiently. It is now time to add another main artery into town that can avoid the pitfalls and limitations Highway 82 provides it commuters. Aspen has reached its capacity to park the vehicles that come into town. During special events, Food and Wine, Fourth of July and ski-racing events, the city removes a very large amount of parking spaces on Main Street and other streets near the events. Traffic backups have become the norm, for most days of the week, for the past decades.
The Rio Grande Trail has been “rail banked” to provide for a future light rail, a safer alternative into Aspen. Now the trail is underutilized by only bikers and hikers. By adding an elevated (10 to 15 feet above the trail), cantilevered light-rail system (a straight line into Aspen from the Highway 82 intercept lot along the Rio Grande Trail), we could increase the capacity to bring the masses safely into town. Thus the commuters could avoid the traffic congestion on Highway 82. A monorail would provide a modern, fast (10- to 15-minute), nonstop, quiet, smooth, energy-efficient, environmentally friendly and extremely safe mass-transit system into town.
Advantages of an elevated monorail into Aspen along the Rio Grande Trail:
1. An elevated, high-speed, smooth people mover would provide a great panoramic view of the mountain scenery while riding into Aspen.
2. No stops for traffic lights, no slowdown because of the S-curves, no other commuters multitasking while driving, no commercial vehicles and a straight shot into town with no stops till the arrival into the center of town.
3. Slick roads, snowstorms, car accidents, wildlife or dogs crossing the path would not impede the monorail ride into Aspen.
4. The Rio Grande Trail could become fully utilized for all types of travel. The elevated monorail bringing in the masses, wildlife, bikers and hikers could use the trail.
5. This light-rail system would remove a lot of single-occupancy vehicles from Highway 82 and the traffic backups we have had to deal with for the past decades.
6. Could be expanded to go up Brush Creek to the Snowmass ski area.
Does the traffic congestion we now experience almost every day justify the expense to put in a monorail system to take care of our future demands on parking and commuting into Aspen?