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Bus-stop beefs

Dennis Webb

Some critics of a new downtown Greyhound bus station hope the location is only a temporary stop on the way to the service finding another Glenwood Springs home.The station operator, however, believes the office is in an appropriate place and the city would be mistaken to try to force it to move.”I feel the city is going to lose a lot if we do throw in the towel on this and tell Greyhound this won’t work as a location,” said station agent John Bellio.Bellio, a Silt-area resident and the co-owner of the Chocolate Moose Ice Cream Parlor on Grand Avenue downtown, opened the station this fall at 701 Cooper Ave., on the corner of Seventh Street. Greyhound had been looking at various locations for a new Glenwood Springs site since losing its lease for its station on Sixth Street behind the Village Inn.City manager Jeff Hecksel said the Hotel Denver and some other downtown business have complained to the city about the new station. Greyhound riders are asking other businesses if they can use their rest rooms, and also seeking travel-related information from them.Don Gillespie, a former Glenwood Springs City Council member, complained to council last week about the new station.”I’m hoping that’s temporary,” Gillespie said.He said it is creating a “filthy, dirty” situation with buses idling underneath the pedestrian bridge and blocking half of 7th Street.”That goes on all the time and it’s not very attractive for tourists when they come off that bridge there, that foot bridge, and you’ve got this Greyhound bus there idling while they’re loading and unloading,” Gillespie said.Hecksel said the city had the impression the new station would be temporary.”But there it is and it continues to be there,” he said.Moreover, he said, “nothing prohibits it from being there.”The use is permitted under the zoning for the location, Hecksel said. Bellio said Aspen Limousine, another transportation business, formerly occupied the site.Bellio must submit a change of use application for the station, Hecksel said. Depending on the magnitude of the change, it can be handled by city staff or require a public review before the city Planning and Zoning Commission. A city staff decision could be appealed to the city’s Board of Adjustment and Appeals.Hecksel said the bus stops at a designated location on 7th Street. Taxis, delivery trucks and Ride Glenwood buses all also use the same location, he said. He said it would be hard for the city to allow some of those uses and not others. The question could be whether to ban all or none of them.”They’re all sharing the same space. I guess the question is, is that good or not?” Hecksel said.He wrote in a memo to City Council, “If the city were to disallow use of this area for these purposes, several businesses and the public would likely be heavily impacted.”Hecksel said Greyhound provides some benefits to Glenwood Springs.”It certainly provides a transportation option to people here that wouldn’t exist otherwise,” he said.It also provides an option for small-package delivery, he said.Bellio said about 9,000 Greyhound trips a year originate out of Glenwood Springs.”It is pretty much a public service to have Greyhound driving through and stopping,” he said.Greyhound also brings a lot of people to town, where many of them spend money, Bellio said. He said the company has talked about opening a station somewhere such as New Castle or Rifle if things don’t work out in Glenwood Springs.”I think it would be a tremendous disservice to the community to let that happen,” he said.He said charitable organizations also use Greyhound to transport homeless people to shelters in Grand Junction or Denver.In addition, the company offers runaway children free rides home, he said.Bellio said he became the agent for the Glenwood Springs station after the prior agent gave up the position upon losing the lease for the 6th Street location.He believes the new location works well because it is near the Amtrak station and a Ride Glenwood stop.Bellio notes that the city has a public rest room below the Grand Avenue bridge. He said he doesn’t have the financial means to open a rest room at the station. If the city requires it, he would simply close the station, he said.”I’m not making enough money out of the place to pay to move the place or anything like that,” he said.He believes more signs could address some of the needs for information by Greyhound riders. It’s also just going to take time to educate them about the change in station location after it was on 6th Street for 23 years, he said.Contact Dennis Webb: 945-8515, ext. 516dwebb@postindependent.com


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