Letter (Tuesday, Aug. 13): Status quo does not serve Aspen well
August 12, 2013
Oh, goodie, another issue for spoiled kids spoon banging their bowls of pap. The parking garage under Wagner is sure to bring out the Aspen Circus.
The experience of seeing Aspen for the first time can be crafted so that visitors feel they've reached a place where the stress of a city slides away. I didn't say where that all the modern conveniences are gone — just the stress. That's our "product" — natural beauty and a kick-ass service community.
The problem of easy access to the heart of Aspen while keeping a quiet resort atmosphere is hard. Ruby Park has not solved the problem. The Rio Grande parking lot has not solved the problem. As we contemplate a Rio Grande redesign, we have an opportunity to do better.
1. Parking garages don't have to be port authority, concrete hell holes. A parking garage can be a pleasant experience and a retailer's paradise. I will keep pointing to the huge success of parking at the Louvre, which made museum fees the single largest slice of the French gross national product. It wasn't the pyramid which did that, it was access, parking and splitting the Louvre ticket into three tickets (bloody brilliant).
2. Make Ruby Park better by making it a park. Reroute the buses to the Rio Grande lot. Skier buses could stop directly at the gondola. Yes, you would have to make a pull out for the buses but there would be fewer skiers crossing the road. The traffic flow on Durant would ease.
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3. What determines how many cars use a parking structure is the vehicular entrance. Spiraling around Monarch and Durant to a Wagner entrance will not improve the traffic in the core. The only way to do this in Wagner is to dig an entrance from Main Street. I will win the lottery before that happens … and first I need to buy a ticket.
4. What determines how people experience a parking structure is the pedestrian exit. I would love an exit from a parking structure right onto the mall (see above lottery quote) failing that we can make the exit from the Rio Grande better. Just getting to the other side of Main would be an improvement.
5. Underground bicycle parking — the mall is a forest of bike racks. The Japanese robotic underground bike parking structures are "cool."
I sincerely believe to achieve a restful resort atmosphere, we should explore future thinking like using power from hybrid/electric cars in parking structures to reach that 100 percent renewable goal, underground bicycle parking (seriously, check it out on YouTube; it's a kick), investigate the train again — but this time include a carrier car for trucks and vans so that deliveries can come off of Highway 82 and onto the rails. And please make a hook up to the ski train from Denver — get skiers all the way to Aspen. Oh, my.
Crazy optimistic out-of-the box thinking? That's the Aspen way.
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