Letter: Keep Aspen unique in the future
October 13, 2015
Have you've been to Rubey Park lately? They are building a new fancy building. I am sure it is going to be very nice when it is finished. But it seems something very important is missing, something we need more than anything. We need to improve transportation in and around Aspen. Aspen is a unique little town whose main sources to survive are the billionaires, multimillionaires and big international events taking place every year. Downtown in our so-called environmentally friendly little town, we have sometimes a dozen or more mostly diesel buses running. We can eliminate half of them by changing our transportation system. I have noticed that most of the passengers on the downvalley buses want to go to Snowmass Village. We can encourage visitors to leave their cars out of the city of Aspen simply by building an Aspen-Snowmass visitor and transit center at the Highway 82-Brush Creek Road intercept lot. We make it so nice that visitors want to go there to see it and spend a little time there.
Also, we would maximize the parking lot. Our visitors would be tempted to take the monorail to Aspen or Snowmass. At Buttermilk, they could transfer to the monorail to Tiehack and Aspen Highlands. By having a nice transit center at the intercept lot, nobody would mind taking the bus downvalley or to Snowmass from there instead of downtown Aspen. A monorail would enhance the city of Aspen, while all those bad-smelling buses degrade and might harm the future of Aspen. The monorail would run from Rubey Park straight over Durant Avenue to Koch Lumber Park, the base of Shadow Mountain, Marolt and Aspen Valley Hospital, the roundabout, Truscott, Buttermilk, the airport and the intercept lot. A monorail is a post-and-beam construction, which can be built without relocating utilities. It can go over intersections and even through buildings. For years, we have been talking about having a train downvalley, but the time is not right for that. At this time, we don't have enough ridership for a downvalley train.
Also in the news lately has been a gondola connection from Aspen to Snowmass Village. It would be nice for the skiers and snowboarders to have all mountains connected, but it would not solve our transportation problem. Also, there is a plan for a light rail around town. This would only move some people from store to store. Our main transportation problem is between Aspen, Buttermilk, a big parking facility (the intercept lot) and Snowmass Village. A monorail is the ideal solution; it is environmentally friendly, easy and affordable to build, quiet and good-looking, too.