Airport, parking, Castle Creek Bridge


What's happening...

(ACC - Aspen City Council, BOCC - Pitkin Board of County Commissioners)

✈️ Airport Layout Plan gets dispatched to BOCC

Wednesday the BOCC will be asked to adopt a two read Resolution accepting the Airport Advisory Board's vote to approve the Alternative to the Airport Layout and formally submit it to the FAA for review and approval. The layout shifts and widens the runway along with other modifications.

☀️ Shifting gears to summer

Aspen Gets Us There recently conducted a study regarding public transportation. They hope to implement positive changes to the parking and ride share system as demand for parking spots increase during peak seasons. Remedies considered are increased first-last mile connections for The Downtowner, surge and demand location parking prices, and updated parking permits. The council is hopeful rideshare strategies will positively impact the community, and increase safety for pedestrians.

🏡 Historic Preservation Commission weighs form vs function

The Aspen Historic Preservation Commission is addressing the challenge of balancing historical authenticity with the need for modern safety and sustainability for roofing materials on historic properties. The upcoming Work Session, scheduled for April 10, 2024, at 5:30 PM in the City Council Chambers, will explore alternatives to traditional wood shingles amid concerns over insurability, fire safety, and environmental impact. The session aims to benchmark with other Colorado communities and consider amending the Historic Preservation Design Guidelines to find solutions that honor Aspen's history while prioritizing our community's safety and environment.

🌉 Building a bridge...where?

Next Monday, April 15th at 4pm, ACC hears a report from staff on the feasibility of replacing the existing bridge in its current location. Below is a CivicAspen Issue Explainer on the subject and we welcome fact-checking or feedback of any kind.


Issue Explainer: Castle Creek Bridge

What is the Castle Creek Bridge issue?

It’s an infrastructure issue tied to needing to replace the existing bridge that’s approaching the end of its useful life. Every proposal to date requires a bridge in the current location. It's a question of whether one bridge is sufficient?

What are the options?

  1. Replace the existing bridge with a 3-lane bridge that has a reversible lane for peak traffic flow, and soften the S-curves to improve throughput.
  2. Straight Shot aka the Preferred Alternative, 5-lanes cutting across Marolt Open Space and a new bridge tying into Main Street plus a stop light at 7th & Main Street.

Option 1: Replace the existing bridge

Pros: 

  • Touted as a common sense solution that can be done at the lowest cost in the least amount of time while maintaining the historic Marolt Open Space and the current entrance to Aspen that preserves small town character.
  • A mass transit/HOV or eventually a reversible third lane on a new bridge, 3-lanes into and exiting the bridge, and softening the S-Curves would improve traffic.
  • Advanced bridge construction methods reduce the disruption and construction time, such as allowing for building one lane at a time and maintaining two lanes of traffic during construction.

Cons:

  • Replacing the existing bridge would be up to 18 to 24 months of construction and there are logistical challenges with making Power Plant road the temporary alternative route. 
  • Two evacuation routes via bridges would enhance community safety.
  • S-curves limitations would still exist even if improved. 

Option 2: The Straight Shot aka the Preferred Alternative

Pros: 

  • Construction impacts would be less, because the new second bridge would be built while traffic continued to use the existing Castle Creek Bridge.
  • 5-lanes and a 122 foot wide right of way allows for a rail corridor.
  • Alleviates West End sneak neighborhood traffic.

Cons: 

  • Negatively impacts Marolt Open Space and Aspen’s small town character and degrades contiguous neighborhoods.
  • 5-lanes does not improve traffic, because only 2-lanes would be for cars, a stop light would be added at 7th & Main Street slowing traffic, and Cemetery Lane residents would be required to make a circuitous route to the roundabout, all creating new traffic impacts.
  • It’s more expensive to build the Straight Shot and the city would inherit the maintenance cost of the current Castle Creek Bridge (currently covered by CDOT).

Resources:

City of Aspen's Preferred Alternative webpage

Friends of Castle Creek webpage


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Jamie Larson
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