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RFTA welcomes Eagle County bus link – if cash is attached

Mary Ann Lopez
Special to the Post Independent

The Roaring Fork Transportation Authority’s director says Eagle County is welcome to extend its bus service to Glenwood Springs, as long as the county can pay for it.

After watching the success of the RFTA’s newest route to Rifle, the Eagle County ECOtransit system is contemplating adding a route to Glenwood Springs.

Having bus service from Glenwood Springs to Vail would “fill the gap,” RFTA executive director Dan Blankenship said.

“If that service was available from Glenwood Springs to Vail as ECO service, it would provide service to an area where there is no service …” he said. “People would use us to get to them and vice-versa.”

Having the bus service available between the two communities would provide numerous benefits, he said. The service would allow visitors to travel between shopping areas and it also would provide another option for those who commute to work. For those engaging in recreational pursuits, it would make driving obsolete.

“Any of these services we put in place that provide this link help reduce traffic congestion. The more people we can get out of cars the more we can help reduce congestion … particularly at peak times during the day,” he said.

“Anything we can do to get people to use transit during those times can help reduce traffic,” Blankenship said.

RFTA board member and Eagle County Commissioner Michael Gallagher has mentioned the idea to the RFTA board in the past, Blankenship said. So far there has not been direct discussion between the two transit organizations.

The idea to connect the two communities is great, said Cathy Tuttle, Glenwood Springs’ transportation demand consultant.

“It’s an awesome idea,” she said. “It connects the whole region and encourages people to leave their cars behind.”

It is important that all of the transportation programs work together because they have the same goal: to reduce the number of people driving cars, she said.

Encouraging people to use other modes of transportation, whether bicycles or public transit, is key, Tuttle said. Having a bus route between the two valleys would help alleviate bottlenecks.

Tuttle is unsure how economically feasible the project is at this time.

“It is all timing. If the timing is right, we’ll see this happen,” she said.

As ECO evaluates services and demand, Blankenship said he expects the organizations will discuss transfer locations. In the meantime ECO is still evaluating whether the route is feasible.

Having the link between the communities would provide one more reason for people to use RFTA, Blankenship said.

“I think it would be a service anyone would welcome. I can’t imagine anyone thinking it was a bad idea,” he said.

Tuttle encourages residents with input on the bus service route to contact their city councilor or contact Tuttle at 928-6027 or Shelley Kaup at 928-6037.

Residents can also contact ECO Transit Planner David Johnson at 970-328-3524 or by e-mail at djohnson@eaglecounty.com.

A comment form is also available on the Eagle County website: http://www.eaglecounty.com/ecotransit/comments.html.


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