The big picture of transportation in the Roaring Fork Valley
I attended Tony Dutzik’s presentation on transportation and mobility last Wednesday. After a nod to Henry Ford and the first “transportation revolution,” we heard about the usual suspects: self-driving cars, bike-share, carpooling, on-demand apps and the final solution — ban the private car from the city limits.
The biggest bumps in the road to a carless future were “the service worker or other low-income folks.” We were told that the social engineering was too broad a topic for the presentation.
Really? Luckily there were no projectiles for me to throw, and I haven’t body-slammed anyone since a brief stint as a nose guard for a women’s football team in college.
Self-driving cars are easy — just try inventing a self-repairing sewer line. Ban everyone without a commercial license plate and you ban blue collar. You ban the construction worker’s truck. You ban the electrician’s van. You ban the maid’s car of cleaning supplies. You ban every independent contractor and freelancer who travels with their shop on their back.
Sure, if service workers could afford to live in town, it would be a different story. But the average cost of a single-family home in Aspen last year was $6.2 million. Not a lot of service industry workers can handle that mortgage. Sooo … you ban the commuters who keep our “quaint little mountain town” running.
The intro to “transportation and mobility” was Henry Ford and the Model T, but the Model T wasn’t just about car versus horse or an assembly line. Ford also increased the wages of his employees so they could buy the cars they were building.
Start there: Improve quality of life and revitalize the community or all that vitality will find someplace easier and more welcoming to thrive. Just talk to the Pitkin County workers in the temporary digs in Basalt. The new county offices do not hold as much appeal as a short commute. Our priorities should not be fewer cars. Our priorities should be more time with your family and more time enjoying this fantastic valley.
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