Siegel: City has wasted a lot of time |

Siegel: City has wasted a lot of time

Letter to the editor
Letter to the editor

In the city of Aspen’s promo push to bring an interstate-like, five-lane expressway literally to our doorsteps, there is emphasis on the need for adequate evacuation routes. Public safety is serious stuff, and anyone who lives, works, or visits here expects absolute candor from the city on this subject.

If approved, the new Entrance to Aspen will take at least 10 years, so the first obvious question is: What is the city doing now to ensure that in the interim we have sufficient evacuation means? Which leads to the next obvious question: There are apparently four evacuation routes to the west across Castle Creek; has the city evaluated their capabilities? At a minimum, are the lesser known routes marked (The city loves signs) to indicate an evacuation route and provide public awareness?

The city blames climate change for their perceived urgency, but this is not a new issue. The Record of Decision 25 years ago identified  “Emergency Access” as a project objective (p.10).

One might fairly ask what the city has done in the past 25 years to provide or improve alternative routes in case of an emergency. Or, since 2007, when the city again looked at the options for a new bridge and emergency routes were mentioned, what has been done in the past 15 years?

All of which leads to the real conclusion about the “Preferred Alternative,” which is that the hundreds of thousands of dollars spent on an inaccurate and incomplete PR campaign for an obscene and out-of-character bridge, planned well in the future and hopefully never built, would have been preferably better spent with improvements on routes and accessible public information on what to do and where to go in case of an emergency requiring an evacuation of the city.

The  city should not be fear mongering to bootstrap a need for their mega bridge and, in the process, mask inadequate or non-existent activity and the lack of public education on such an important subject.

Neil B. Siegel