Glenwood Springs, RFTA must work to make sure local transit goals are met |

Glenwood Springs, RFTA must work to make sure local transit goals are met

Post Independent Opinion
Glenwood Springs, Colorado CO

With its decision last week to support condemnation efforts, if necessary, the city of Glenwood Springs is now on board with the Roaring Fork Transportation Authority to acquire the former Honda dealership site in south Glenwood.

The location at 27th Street and Highway 82 is to serve as the main downvalley hub for the Bus Rapid Transit expansion. Redevelopment of this site by RFTA, which has shown good taste in such projects elsewhere in the valley, would be a welcome upgrade.

And cooperation with local governments in multi-jurisdictional agencies such as RFTA is critical in such matters.

As such, though, we believe RFTA and the city both have some more work to do to make sure the new BRT system will be convenient and therefore successful on this end of the line in its effort to encourage more upvalley commuters to get out of their cars and onto the Glenwood-Aspen express bus.

Glenwood Springs is an important member of RFTA, which has made much progress in addressing the transit needs of the Roaring Fork Valley and western Garfield County.

But Glenwood Springs’ single-biggest transportation issue is traffic congestion on Grand Avenue – Highway 82 – as it passes through the middle of town.

To put a major transit station on the south end of town, without similar options at the west end of town, could prompt people to drive their vehicles through town to park at the new facility. This will only increase the traffic problem.

The planned south Glenwood BRT station serves RFTA’s goals to keep the new express bus system on schedule, by not having BRT vehicles looping all the way out to West Glenwood and back.

But the other part of the equation is to capture as many commuters as possible on the west end of Glenwood Springs and get them onto buses.

As RFTA is busy putting the BRT system in place, the city of Glenwood Springs is undertaking its own study to determine where to locate another multimodal transit station to accommodate a variety of transportation systems.

This will include the Ride Glenwood buses and RFTA’s local bus connection to the Grand Hogback route, which will still be traveling through town.

Site options include some attractive locations in West Glenwood, including the RFTA-owned property west of the Glenwood Meadows development off Midland Avenue. Other sites being studied that are not so logical, in our opinion, are located right smack in the middle of town, or in the same vicinity as RFTA’s planned BRT station.

It seems crucial that RFTA and the city get on the same page here and work together to make sure this secondary facility to the BRT station is strategically placed so that it will complement the larger transit goals.

We encourage our local and regional transportation planners to keep this in mind in planning the multimodal facility.

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