Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Transportation

Imagine it is 2018. You have been the Grand Poobah of Transportation for 10 years. What have you accomplished? What is different about getting into and out of Aspen today? What does the downtown feel like in terms of vehicles and traffic? What are you most proud of with regard to the transportation program?

10 comments:

Samantha Kerr said...

Long Live The Aspenite
As a student at Aspen High School, I attended a class where local city planners addressed issues facing Aspen today. The class was very informative; one issue we discussed in detail was transportation.
Transportation is an important issue to me because I live down valley and commute to school everyday. I find it hard to believe that the "extra" bus lanes that cost millions of dollars are worth their value. I find it will be more valuable to have an electric train system in that space provided. I am not a fan of bus transportation only because it is an huge hassle. If i took the bus to school i would have to schedule my mornings around the pick up time, i would end up taking a total of two buses, and i would have to sit in the cold in between buses. This is absurd. We should spend money and taxes creating electric cars and a train that runs up and down the valley. People need their transportation freedom, and RAFTA will never meet the freedom needs of many individuals.
Aspen clearly needs to reduce their carbon emissions so that future generations will be able to enjoy the opportunities we now enjoy today. However; i feel money could be spent in a more productive way than an "extra" bus lane. Food for thought.
-Samantha Kerr

Brooke said...

I am a senior attending Aspen High School and today a couple city planners from Aspen magnified issues that concern our town. They came in with a positive attitude, excited to teach the class new concepts and ideas. The main issues we discussed were alternative transportation and the new road system. The group decided as a whole that clearly there is a problem to fix. The city of Aspen is trying to resolve the complications, but in my perspective, their idea was not as beneficial as they initially planned. The new bus system created a two-lane road with one strictly for buses. I think that I would be a good concept if people were willing to give up their vehicles, but in this towns’ situation most people can afford the gas. Meaning, they are less tempted into riding RFTA.
As much as Aspen wants to reduce carbon emissions, the bus resolution does not seem practical. I live in Old Snowmass and I drive my SUV everyday to school. If there was a way to get from my house to school by bus and not have to make 2 buses I would most likely ride RFTA, but it is difficult to accommodate. I think the best idea is to purchase electrical cars and make them seem more desirable. The city of Aspen should give people with electrical cars benefits such as free parking. Aspen is facing a huge issue with eco-friendly transportation, and alternate ideas should be considered.
-Brooke Gordon

Chelsea Murdock said...

Transportation in Aspen has been a problem since the town was founded. Now, the problem lies more with the amount of people coming in and out of Aspen daily. A good amount of workers in Aspen commute from down valley, and RFTA currently is not idealistic for some of these people who would rather commute in traffic every day than have the hassle of trying to catch a bus. For the future of Aspen I see electric cars becoming more popular, and a few people have already picked up on the advantages of a small fuel efficient vehicle. Also a light rail system coming from down valley to Aspen would be beneficial to the community and a long term investment to the city of Aspen. In addition, I think locals should not have to pay for parking, and should be allowed free parking. Our tax dollars should go to something that will benefit our community, and not the costs for constantly upgrading RFTA.

Violet said...

Living in Snowmass Village the journey to school isn't very long, but I believe there are much more affective ways to help the transportation situation than by spending millions of dollars on a new bus lane. I don't think this is going to encourage more people to take the bus; it is frustrating to see the buses go past you every morning going at around 40 mph while everyone else is rolling into town at around 5 mph.
I understand that they are trying to make the buses more environmentally clean, but I am curious to know how clean new buses are; to say just that they are cleaner than the old ones is to general. I think instead of investing so much money in RFTA, money should be invested in researching a cleaner and more convenient method of transport for the valley.
I also agree with making parking free for locals...

Christer DeBoer said...

As an Aspen bred youth I also attend high school here and am concerned with the valley's transportation issues. In class we worked with some of the local city planners who help shape the community vision for Aspen. I believe part of the transportation issue is that it is difficult for neighborhoods which are isolated by few roads. For one bus system to handle this is hard enough but trying to create incentives to increase demand for public transportation is even harder. In other cities there isn't the mountains don't obstruct roads. I think that the structure and geopolitical map of the Roaring Fork Valley would be wells served with a light rail system as a main artery of transportation. In a group discussion some students and I decided that the project could start near the Snowmass Intercept Lot and possibly look to expand further downvalley. Subsidiary bus routes would be required to bring people to the light rail hubs. It is imperative that they be designed to accomodate bikes and skiis because it would be an effective method to transport people to the ski mountains. This would be even more efficient than a Bus Rapid Transit system. There is less concern for bad or icy road conditions is probably much safer in general. There may also be a green way to power this system worth investigating. Another common problem for community members is that their vehicle is central to their business and need tools and supplies to be brought up from their downvalley residences. Perhaps these people would be more likely to use this system if there were a large parking garage to park their vehicles over night and just transit down the valley on the light rail system near the parking garage. However I foresee some hesitancy for high schoolers to drastically change how they get to school and perhaps this is only my own perspective and the same is for any demographic.

Matthew said...

One of the most important things I think was talked about when the city planners were in class was improving the efficiency of public transportation. While the bus system works well, its frequency leaves something to be desired. Putting in bus-only lanes when the buses only come by every half-hour is a bit of a waste in my opinion. Also, a half-hour time schedule leaves less room for error for people - if you miss the buss, you are now thirty minutes late. Making the buses come more frequently, say ten or fifteen minute intervals, would be something I look forward to in the future.

Nick Byrne said...

As a born and raised native of Aspen for the last 18 years, I have seen many issues face Aspen and in so, many resolutions being passed to these. As a student of Aspen High School, I commute to and from the school every day. Before aquring my drivers license, I would ride RFTA quite frequently, I am pleased with the service RFTA offers in regards to other transit systems in different towns and cities, though there are still frustrations I find with RFTA. A top concern that has always plagued me when riding the bus, is the inconvient time schedule between connecting buses. In order for myself to get to school with RFTA, I must take 2 different buses, with an inconvient wait time between them both. Sitting outside in the cold Aspen air, due to the disjoint timetable of the connecting bus. It is simply improbable to be able to accomplish what I must throughout the day, while organizing my schedule around RFTA's. I am Pro-Train, I fully endorse and support a light rail system through the Roaring Fork Valley. Voters just recently passed an initiative granting RFTA more tax-payers money for the expansion of their system and their new philosophy of having a bus run like a train. Unfortuanately RFTA, a bus is still a bus. Instead of wasting hordes of money on trying to enhance the bus system, leaving a high carbon footprint in the process, it would be more logical to research and construct a light rail system. I propose the light rail being built in several stages. Each of these stages would take a total time period of 5 to 10 years. The first stage would be establishing the primary piece of light rail between downtown Aspen and the intercept lot at Snowmass. RFTA would need to utilize the current "Park-and-Ride" by building a larger parking structure to support the higher density of cars parking here, and then commuting on the train. The train would be efficient, clean, and much of the traffic would be alleviated at the densest section of Highway-82, between the airport and the round-about. This light rail system would eventually expand all the way to Glenwood, with feeder buses off of it, running up to places like Snowmass. We are gifted to live in a valley with such a perfect design for a light-rail transit system as such. We now must take action upon this, instead of pouring more money into useless bus-lanes that hypothetically shave 15 minutes off a bus ride.
Thank You
-Nick Byrne

Meg said...

Meg Lansburgh P. 2.

When we talked about transportation in class today i realized that there is always room for improvement. This year the roads were re done to make it easier for the entrance to Aspen and the bus lanes. They spent several years repairing the bridge to that there was not as much traffic but the problem is, is that the bridge is still only 2 lanes for cars. There are 2 bus lanes but that does not benefit the majority of the people who drive during the day. I would love to see people using more public transportation but not everyone will change like that. I would love to see a more energy efficient way to serve public transportation. Thank you so much for you time and effort in our class room, i was really worth while. ~Meg Lansburgh

Greg Mebel said...

How about a supply of town bikes and electric "golf" carts for transportation around Aspen? That would make travel easier, parking less of a hassle, decrease noise and carbon pollution, and even improve fitness levels. Plus, it would make Aspen a novel place for visitors. They might even take the idea home with them.

EC Erb said...

I feel very lucky that when I am in Aspen I can park in town at our home then walk, bike, or bus most everywhere I want to go.
The idea of straightening the S Curves concerns me as we already have a natural traffic calming device in place. The curves define the entrance into town and slow traffic. If two lanes of traffic barreled into town we would just need to figure a way to slow the traffic back down. As it is, I find vehicles hesitant to stop for me in a crosswalk, but if they still had the feeling of being on a highway, it would be much crazier having traffic slow down.
I'd love to see a train return to the valley. let's make an affordable system that workers can use to get to and from town. Add some cars for the frequent travelers that are a little roomier and cost more. Then add a car with a deluxe service that you can charge extra for the experience to help fund the overall system.
Of course offering more in town living opportunities for the local workers would also help to mitigate transportation demand. I miss how when I first worked in Aspen at the brand new Clark's Market, all of my coworkers lived in town.