No more running from Aspen’s traffic jams

Thank you to Diane Moore and Rachel Richards for bringing up the elephant in the room, the Entrance to Aspen, at the recent Elected Officials Transportation Committee meeting. I feel for West End residents that have to put up with massive traffic, but access through the West End will remain a necessary evil until the Entrance to Aspen is significantly improved.

I feel even more for the people that have to unnecessarily sit in gridlock coming and going to town. Shame on former Aspen Mayor Steve Skadron for shutting down all talk of the Entrance to Aspen in 2017 and to all officials that allowed his shutdown to persist these past five years. As an Aspen and Pitkin County resident, I expect my elected officials and government staffs to take on our problems, not ignore them due to “lack of political will.”

Aspen elected officials have a decades-long track record of shutting down any improvement of the Entrance to Aspen. When voters have approved a solution from time to time, such as approving the state’s Record of Decision in 1996, nothing is done other than to stall and develop a new solution such as a tunneled entrance with two dedicated bus lanes and two traffic lanes in 2001.

A “tunnel” sounded like an awful way to enter our beautiful town and, in my opinion, was described as a tunnel to create opposition. No “tunnel” was needed. A 100- to 300-foot wide “land bridge” or overpass to afford access across the Marolt open space is appropriate. Contrary to persistent suggestions, the Castle Creek Bridge cannot be widened to three lanes due to structural and right of way width limitations.

I recognize the choices and options are painful, but we must do something about our entrance to allow more effective and safe access to and from Aspen. We cannot claim to have a commitment to fighting climate change while dumping huge amounts of carbon into the air every day from gridlocked automobiles because we are unwilling to build appropriate infrastructure improvements. The S curves have to go.

The state of Colorado, EOTC, the Pitkin County commissioners and the Aspen City Council should revisit and update the Record of Decision as may be appropriate and implement it.

Mike Maple


Letter to the Editor