South Midland residents retain their ticket to ride
Ride Glenwood Springs buses will continue serving points south of 27th along Midland Avenue at current frequencies. But to do this, a proposal to serve the Community Center will have to wait. A plan was unveiled last week by city staff to cut bus service to areas around Glenwood Park and Mountain Valley Developmental Services from every half hour to just once an hour, in order to develop a new Midland Avenue route to the Community Center.City engineer Larry Thompson and city Transportation Demand Management operatives Shelley Kaup and Cathy Tuttle had little choice but to cut service somewhere because they were asked to work within the same budget. But when the plan was put in front of the Glenwood Springs City Council Thursday night, they balked at the idea. “I guess I’m very disappointed in the schedule,” Councilman Dave Merritt said. After giving a presentation on RFTA’s new westward bus route, which is being called the “Grand Hogback” route, RFTA director of planning Mike Davis entered into the discussion on the city’s local bus system.Davis emphasized that rather than trying to reach every nook and cranny of the city, local route planners should focus on consistency. “Consistency is valuable. At the same time, monitor it,” he said. The hope is that if Ride Glenwood Springs customers can use their passes on RFTA’s valley buses to ride along Grand Avenue and Highway 6 & 24, that could free up city buses to serve other parts of town, including the Community Center. Councilman Dan Richardson took a different view. “I think we need to bite the bullet and say we built a building without access and provide more funding,” he said.Mayor Don Vanderhoof supported trying the new schedule so people would have an alternate route to the Community Center. If that didn’t happen, he said, it would be “taking a step backwards.””I think we need to go forward with this thing and look at it in the summer,” he said. Council voted 5 to 1 to keep the schedule as it is. Despite the vote, the discussion yielded the idea of making Roaring Fork Transportation Authority passes and Ride Glenwood Springs passes interchangeable within city limits. It was an idea termed “one fare fits all.””It just seems with the help of RFTA, you could provide half-hourly service,” Councilman Don “Hooner” Gillespie said to city engineer Larry Thompson. And while Davis said he couldn’t make any official decisions for RFTA, he said it could work as long as it works both ways.”I think we’re happy to accept Ride Glenwood tickets if you will accept RFTA tickets,” he said.The RFTA valley buses, however, do not make the trip on South Midland to Glenwood Park.In other business:-Plans for the downtown fire station will remain much as they have been – a new fire station on the east side of downtown will be built soon. There are still, however, two possible locations for that station. One location is the present site at Eighth and Cooper. The other is at Ninth and Cooper. One alternative brought up at the meeting included using the older Municipal Operations Center for a temporary fire station while city staff studies the feasibility of building a parking structure at the current City Hall site. After some discussion, that idea was shot down. “I’d hate to put a half-million dollars of the taxpayers’ money for a temporary use,” fire chief Mike Piper said. The demolition of the old MOC building clearly bothered Merritt, who expressed criticism about plans to demolish it. “I can’t believe we’re going to tear down a less-than-20-year-old building for a few parking spaces,” he said. “It’s a travesty.”Later in the meeting, a $78,000 bid to take down the MOC was approved. “I think it’s one of the biggest mistakes we’ll make this year,” Merritt said. -The establishment of a base year for the Downtown Development Authority’s tax increment financing was again delayed. DDA director Bill Evans offered an ordinance that has been used by other municipalities and has passed muster in the state Supreme Court several times. Council asked city attorney Teresa Williams to bring back another ordinance that could be voted on at the next meeting on March 21.
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