Traffic woes will worsen by limiting West End vehicles |

Traffic woes will worsen by limiting West End vehicles

Some West Enders aren’t happy having to share their shady streets with drive-through commuters who avoid the twice daily S-bend conga line by taking the Smuggler/Power Plant sneaker. Their safety concerns are legitimate; anyone driving through this neighborhood should keep their foot off the gas and give way to all the kids, dogs, e-bikes and strollers encountered along the way.

But anyone who thinks the city of Aspen should block this route so that the West End doesn’t have to suffer drive-through traffic should try exiting the city via Main Street and the S-bend some weekday afternoon around 4 or 5. Or run out to the ABC for a morning croissant anytime after 7, then join the crawl from the airport light back into town, and see if you can resist turning left at Cemetery Lane.

And if you hail from L.A., New York, Chicago, Miami, Houston or any other metroplex, ask yourself how many times back home you’ve cut through local neighborhoods to make your way across the city. And ask yourself whether you kept your speed down as you did so.

There is a solution to the problem. It’s been staring us in the face for years, and it’s not putting a gate at the top of Power Plant Road. Build a second bridge across Castle Creek and the straight-in across Holden/Marolt. The embarrassment that is the ETA is the result of decades of failed Aspen city leadership and misguided local antipathy to this obvious, well documented solution.

Giving Aspen’s West End gated-community status would only exacerbate the problem. What’s needed is real leadership committed to replacing the bottleneck that is the ETA. Until we have that, unless the city stops issuing building permits, the problem will only get worse.

Barry Vaughan

El Jebel

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