Observations about Aspen’s parking system
I note the proposal by Edward Sanditen to build a new bridge across Marolt and Castle Creek (“Aspen’s traffic problem solved,” letters, Aug. 13, aspentimes.com). It is an idea which has been put forward by many over the years.
Sadly, his proposal to charge $20 for those to cross into Aspen is almost certainly illegal. The entry to Aspen is a state highway which continues onto Twin Lakes and US Highway 24. It is not for the exclusive use of those who enjoy the privilege of living in Aspen. It also is not a figurative drawbridge that those of privilege can pull up to stop others who may want to pass through the town.
The problem could be solved, though, if Independence Pass were closed permanently, or if the city and country were to take charge of maintenance. As long as it is a state highway, though, charging to enter Aspen will not be possible.
Aspen has though done a great job of addressing the parking issue by raising the fees to park on the street. Last week I had occasion to drive up for lunch. For the first time in years I had no trouble finding a place to park within walking distance of the restaurant. The city has found the correct price point for now.
Aspen might be able to implement a modified version of Sanditen’s proposal were it to adopt a citywide parking charge, which requires any vehicle parked on a surface road within the city limits to pay a $20/day charge. This would allow those passing though town to do so without charge while collecting a daily payment from others who want to stop and plan to park on the street.
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