Weinberg: Just build a new Castle Creek Bridge
As a local Aspen homeowner, I have closely followed the emerging controversy about a new bridge into Aspen. My perspective is influenced by the time-honored tradition of my profession — a practicing MD and a professor of psychiatry, neurology, neuroscience, and human genetics at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine.
The basic tenet “Do no harm” applies here. When the numerous disadvantages of the city’s proposal are weighed against the perceived advantage, it is clear that there is far more harm than good. The loss of open space, increased traffic, potentially-dangerous intersections, loss of our singular community character, injury to neighborhoods, and historical perspective of our unique town are compared to a minute or so savings in bus-transit times. There is nothing preferred in what the city calls the “preferred alternative.”
Even with these noteworthy examples of harm, more importantly are the unknowns associated with this project, which could adversely impact Aspen for the next 75 years. The project is a “Pandora’s Box.” We can now only guess at its potential adverse impact, and it would be folly to project decades out. Is the community willing to go forward with a transformative project that could materially change this town in manners we cannot perceive? I am not.
The far better choice is to build a new bridge at the same location as the existing one. We know how to predict the impact of this preferred alternative. That new bridge would not adversely impact any part of the community as we now know it. In other words, it would do no harm.
Dr. Daniel R. Weinberger