Letter: An afternoon rush hour solution
After reading several letters about heavy traffic this summer, I agree that it’s particularly bad this year. Perhaps that’s the price of progress as Aspen’s economic boom continues. However, I agree that it’s not very canary friendly for an idle-free city to have hundreds of cars sitting in traffic on Main Street every afternoon.
Everybody knows that the backup is caused by the merge at the S-curves, and long-term residents remember the Entrance to Aspen idea that proposed to expand the S-curves in various ways. Sadly, the most recent solution was strangled by red tape shortly after it was approved by voters, and the rush-hour backup remains. Perhaps in a bright future we’ll have two lanes out of town, but a lot of construction needs to happen before that solution is realized.
In the meantime, I propose another solution that can be achieved by changing a few traffic signs. From the roundabout to Buttermilk, open the downvalley bus lane to HOV traffic from 3 to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday. The rest of the time it can be a dedicated bus lane to maintain the parkway that exists today, and the solid white lane line can stay to reinforce the temporary nature of the HOV allowance.
Traffic down Maroon Creek Road will have an extra lane to merge into, and traffic out of Aspen will have an extra lane to expand into. While this solution will not eliminate the merge at Sixth Street, it will help reduce the backup by getting traffic out of town faster. It also will help reduce the backup at Maroon Creek Road by getting traffic through the roundabout faster.
I have seen some quick changes in Aspen’s traffic flows over the years, and I believe that there is enough public support to put this idea to the test. I know our City Council is a forward-thinking group, and I’m sure they want what’s best for our residents. If this solution doesn’t work, it can easily be changed back to the old way. But if it reduces traffic backup by even a few minutes, any improvement is better than inaction.
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