Beware Aspen’s Main St. speed trap
Vail, CO Colorado
ASPEN, Colorado ” West Main Street is known ” and often reviled ” for its traffic jams. It’s also a hotbed for speeding ticket citations.
Police focus on the area because it’s a long, straight stretch of road where drivers either accelerate after entering town through the S-curves or “beat feet out of town,” Aspen police Sgt. Dan Davis said.
With crosswalks along West Main Street, where the speed limit is 25 mph, it’s an important stretch to monitor and at least maintain a police presence, Davis said.
Aspen officer Jeff Fain has been the most prolific ticket writer of late, issuing 263 citations since September, Davis said. Rookie officer Rick Magnuson wrote 214 citations in the same period.
“Most everybody’s stops are at West Main,” Davis said, estimating about 90 percent of local traffic stops are there. “We get a lot of complaints about speeding on Main Street.”
Though police respond to complaints from citizens or react to traffic conditions or events in Aspen, officers going out on patrol individually decide where they’ll patrol and what they’ll look for, Davis said.
The Aspen Police Department’s recent staff shortage, however, has meant that patrolling for traffic violations isn’t at the usual levels as officers are busy responding to criminal calls or doing investigative work, Davis said.
But there are no “ticket Nazis” in the department, Aspen Police Chief Richard Pryor said.
Patrolling is as much about connecting with people in the community as it is handing out warnings, he said.
Officer Terry Leitch said handing out a warning or ticketing a driver for a lesser offense goes a long way toward goodwill.