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Sat/Sun/Mon/Tues, August 25-28, 2018 The Park Record A-19 Aspen hires consultants for $95K ‘Wayfinding’ idea has skeptics among officials CAROLYN SACKARIASON The Aspen Times ASPEN, Colo – People in Aspen are apparently lost, and the city government is looking at ways to help them get to where they’re going. The city of Aspen has hired two consultants to develop a “wayfinding system.” The city contracted with Boulder-based rsm design and Aspen-based Design Workshop for $95,000 this past spring. They are in the midst of presenting conceptual plans to the city’s advisory boards. The plans center around a system of signs throughout town that are designed to help navigate people to parks, trails and other points of interest. Continued from A-18 Smoke chokes West lethargic,” Simon said Monday. “Today, biking, you can see the whole city in haze and you can’t see the skyline.” One of Colin Shor’s favorite things about working in the Denver area is the view of the high peaks to the west. But that was all but gone Monday. “Not being able to see the mountains is kind of disappointing, kind of sad,” he said. Forest fires are common, but typical Seattle-area weather pushes it out of the way quickly. The latest round of prolonged smoke happened as hot temperatures and high pressure collided, said Andrew Wineke, a spokesman for the state Ecology Department’s air quality program. It’s a rare occurrence that also happened last year, raising con- City planners are wanting feedback from the citizen boards on the initial plan before taking a formalized one to Aspen City Council. “Right now, we are very conceptual,” said Jordan GrayDeKraai, a city project manager. This week, the city’s Historic Preservation Commission and the Planning and Zoning commission reviewed plans with the design team in two public meetings. Gray-DeKraai and Ben Anderson, a planner in the city’s Community Development Department, characterized P&Z’s feedback on Tuesday as “constructive” and a mix of “support and skepticism.” One skeptic is P&Z Commissioner Ryan Walterscheid, who said he thought there was a majority on the board who felt that the plan is too over the top. “The general consensus is, ‘Why is this necessary?’” he said. “’Why it’s going to this extent?’ was the question.” The perceived need for a wayfinding system was born out of the city’s bicycle and pedestrian master plan from a couple of years ago. That plan, based on public feedback, identified a few issues, such as residents and visitors having difficulty locating and traveling safely and efficiently to open space and amenities. Visitors also are unaware of important destinations that define the Aspen experience, or the location of those amenities, according to a memo from Anderson to the P&Z. The memo noted that the city’s existing system of directional, informational and trailhead signage lacks cohesion and has inconsistent information. The planners are working on a visual design for how a system may look. They are scheduled to go before the city’s commercial core and lodging commission and the open space trails board next cerns for many locals that it may become normal during wildfire season. Wineke said climate change is expected to contribute to many more fires. “The trend is clear. You see the number of forest fires increasing, and so there’s going to be wildfires,” Wineke said. “There’s going to be smoke. It’s going to be somewhere.” The Federal Aviation Administration said airplanes bound for the Sea-Tac International Airport, Seattle’s main airport, may be delayed because of low visibility. In Spokane, air quality slipped into the “hazardous” range. Thick haze hung over Washington’s second-largest city, forcing vehicles to turn on their headlights during the morning commute. The air quality was so bad that everyone, regardless of physical condition or age, will likely be affected, according to the Spokane Regional Clean Air Agency. In California, wind blew smoke from several wildfires into the San Francisco Bay Area, where haze led authorities to issue an air quality advisory through Tuesday. They suggested people avoid driving to limit additional pollutants in the air and advised those with health problems to reduce time outdoors. Health officials say signs of smoke-related health symptoms include coughing, scratchy throat, irritated sinuses, headaches, stinging eyes and runny nose. Those with heart disease may experience chest pain, irregular heartbeats, shortness of breath and fatigue. Patients at Denver’s National Jewish Health, a respiratory hospital, were reporting worsening symptoms, hospital spokesman Adam Dormuth said. In Portland, six tourists from Lincoln, Nebraska, posed for a photo in front of the Willamette River with the usual Mount Hood backdrop shrouded in haze. The group of siblings and friends rented an RV and drove in to visit a sister who recently moved to the area. “We are disappointed that we can’t see the mountains and the whole city, because our relatives live here and tell us how pretty it is, and we’re missing it,” Bev Harris said. “We’re from tornado alley, and we don’t have wildfires. It’s a different experience.” month. Gray-DeKraai said the team also plans to work with the Aspen Chamber Resort Association to get more feedback, along with public outreach that’s yet to be determined. The team plans to go to City Council in October for review. Gray-DeKraai said some of the key destinations the team is looking at to guide people to are the Aspen Recreation Center, the hospital, Rio Grande Park and the trail, the John Denver Sanctuary, Wagner Park, Smuggler and trailheads including Hunter Creek and the Ute. Other locations are being discussed. Walterscheid his fellow board members told the consulting team and city planners that if new signage is necessary or needs to be updated, it should be done in minimalist way. “People come here for a bit of adventure,” Walterscheid said, “and I don’t think we have to map out every single place for them.” LUNCH SPECIAL $10 OFF Your $30 purchase DINNER SPECIAL $25 OFF Your $75 purchase Shabu is Open Daily Lunch and Dinner 12pm–10pm TWO for ONE 7700 Stein Way Park City, UT 84060 Reservations (435) 645-6455 www.steinlodge.com/dining Valid 7/1/18 through 9/29/18. Valid Sunday-Thursday for dinner at Glitretind Restaurant only. Cash not accepted. For dine-in only. 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