Letter: Too many buses
Editor’s note: The following letter was originally addressed to the board of directors of the Roaring Fork Transportation Authority and its CEO Dan Blankenship.
Dear Mr. Blankenship and RFTA board members,
The noise and pollution RFTA buses are causing is creating havoc in our beautiful city of Aspen!
The moment I walk out my door each day, my first sensation is the smell of noxious exhaust fumes emanating from the RFTA buses. Although the seemingly incessant construction in the city may contribute to the problem, RFTA buses run 20 hours a day, which clearly makes them the bigger offender. If you happen to reside on the bus route anywhere near Rubey Park, it has become nearly unbearable to enjoy living in Aspen anymore. I am a homeowner, a taxpayer and active in the betterment of our community, and I feel that I no longer have a voice. I came to Aspen because it offered exactly what I wanted: pristine beauty, clean air and a sense of community. The Aspen I know today is not the place I have loved to call home all these years.
Our government has paid $10 million for what amounts to a facelift for Rubey Park. In my mind, this money would have been better spent on replacing existing buses with more environmentally friendly vehicles. Instead, what was accomplished was only to allow an increasing number of buses to park on the most expensive piece of real estate in the country without any consideration given to the impact on residents who live year round on that route.
Now our government has exhausted its $10 million budget making upgrades to Rubey Park to make it more aesthetically appealing, but I contend there is more work to be done! Government officials must take action to resolve the problem of pollution and noise, which degrades the quality of life of everyone who calls Aspen their home.
Perhaps you should consider inviting the 50 billionaires and other wealthy Aspen homeowners, for whom Aspen is most likely not their primary residence, to join the Aspen community and contribute money to replace the polluting buses with environmentally sensible vehicles more quickly. You have increased the number of buses to accommodate their workers, who obviously cannot live in Aspen and must commute from up to 50 miles to get to town. That’s why you added more buses: to accommodate the wealthy. Surely they have invested their real estate dollars in Aspen for the same reasons as those of us who have spent decades of our lives here. One would imagine they would desire a better environment.
I would hope some of you would come to Rubey Park, walk down Durant and watch, smell and hear the noise; maybe then you’d realize what you have done to this town. It is even worse now that the roads are icy and the buses have to accelerate to go up Durant — it’s really getting to be unlivable, but I have no choice!
P.S.: I don’t believe Aspen should be getting the prize in the Georgetown University Energy Prize competition! This town is not as environmentally friendly as it claims to be.
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Richard Compton’s life will be celebrated in an informal gathering on Oct. 23 from 1-3 p.m. at the Pine Creek Cookhouse. All are welcome.