RFTA building more park and rides | PostIndependent.com

RFTA building more park and rides

Two new park-and-ride bus stops will be built this year by the Roaring Fork Transportation Authority in Glenwood Springs and Carbondale at a cost of $2.6 million.

According to RFTA executive director Dan Blankenship, construction could be done as early as this fall.

The two park-and-rides will allow people to be able to park in paved and lighted lots, then wait for their bus under the cover of a shelter. The design and landscaping could resemble the park-and-ride along Highway 82 in Basalt.

“Our goal would be to make them very nice and attractive,” Blankenship said.

Blankenship said the Glenwood Springs park-and-ride will be built just off Midland Avenue on Wulfsohn Road, just below the city’s Municipal Operations Center and RFTA’s bus barn. It will accommodate 50 to 75 vehicles.

“So we can swing in, turn around, then go into the mall,” Blankenship said.

He said in the beginning, the Glenwood Springs park-and-ride will likely just be served by regional buses during peak hours in the morning and at night. But later it could become a more regular stop if and when RFTA builds a transit center next to the Glenwood Springs City Hall at the railroad wye.

“So it makes sense for us to be able to have our buses go by the park-and-ride lot,” he said.

Blankenship said one motivation for the prompt building of the Glenwood Springs park-and-ride is the upcoming road construction projects planned throughout the city.

“We’re going to try and build it before (the Grand Avenue Paving Project),” he said.

The city also plans to reconstruct the intersection at 8th Street and Midland Avenue, as well as the 114 interchange of Interstate 70.

The precise location of the Carbondale park-and-ride is less certain, Blankenship said, but it will most likely be built in the northern part of town near the power substation off Highway 133. Carbondale’s lot will have around 100 spaces.

“There’s a bit more demand for our services there, but we’ll have more opportunity to grow in Glenwood Springs,” he said. “There are a lot of unknowns.”

Blankenship said $2 million in federal funds comes as part of the federal Omnibus Appropriations Bill signed into law by President Bush on Friday.

The rest of the money, about $600,000 of cash and in-kind donations from Glenwood Springs and Carbondale, gives RFTA $2.6 million to build the facilities.

Blankenship said the federal money would have been lost if 3rd District Congressman Scott McInnis and U.S. Sen. Ben Nighthorse Campbell, both Colorado Republicans, hadn’t added language into the Omnibus legislation allowing RFTA to use it for park-and-rides.

The $2 million originally was earmarked for RFTA’s bus rapid transit program, but since there were no immediate studies on which it could be spent, the money would have lapsed in October, Blankenship said.

Instead, McInnis and Campbell made sure the funding was appropriated to RFTA, he said.

“This money definitely would have been history and somebody else would have gotten it,” Blankenship said.

Contact Greg Masse: 945-8515, ext. 511


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