City updating its 5-year Transit Operations Plan |

City updating its 5-year Transit Operations Plan

Sabrina HarrisPost IndependentGlenwood Springs, CO Colorado

The city of Glenwood Springs has been awarded a planning grant from the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) to update its 2005 Transit Operations Plan for Ride Glenwood Springs. Ride Glenwood Springs, the city’s free year-round transit system, has been in operation since 1998 as an alternative transportation mode within Glenwood Springs. The city contracts operations with the Roaring Fork Transportation Authority (RFTA), but is responsible for obtaining funds for operations, capital and bus replacement needs. Back in 2004, the city hired Landsman Transportation Planning to conduct a study to develop a five-year operating, capital and financial plan, resulting in the “City of Glenwood Springs Transit Operations Plan – March 2005.” The consultant created two five-year plans for Ride Glenwood Springs. One was the coverage option and the other was the frequency option. The coverage option focused on servicing a larger service area with less frequency while the frequency option focused on higher frequency in a limited service area. Both options assume the service will be free to ride and a limited budget based on known resources. Of these two options, in April 2005 City Council chose and approved the frequency option based on the assumption that all groups including the transit-dependent tourists and choice riders could be best served by providing high frequency service in the highest density corridor, even if it meant not providing neighborhood service to the whole city. When the plan was implemented, the 20-minute frequency was found impossible to achieve with only two buses within the limited budget. However, since implementation, Ride Glenwood’s ridership has skyrocketed with the biggest jump occurring in 2006 with a 69 percent growth from 2005, prior to operational changes.There’s no doubt the bus system is successful. In fact last year, Ride Glenwood carried its largest number of riders yet, 537,841 passengers. However, success comes with a price: the demand of the public, ever-increasing operational costs and a limited budget. Updating this plan will enhance the city’s ability to provide the best possible transit services to residents and visitors by allowing the city to make educated decisions. The study will cost an estimated $25,000 with the city receiving $20,000 in federal funds. The city will be responsible for providing $5,000, a 20 percent local match from the Bus Tax Fund. CDOT Transit Unit awarded the city of Glenwood Springs 100 percent of the monies requested.Hiring a transit consultant will be the next step in the process. The city will be publishing a request for proposal in the near future to hire a transit consultant to tackle this five-year transit plan with the goals to: assess the transit needs in the community and funding options; analyze the current transit system; understand and determine community needs; ensure compliancy with all federal and state rules and regulations; provide recommendations on future service enhancements based on information obtained from the study; and plan for the future sustainability of the transit system.The results of this project will be a tool to be used in daily operations by the city to provide an excellent local transit system that will make transit enjoyable and meet the immediate and future needs of all members of our community.

Construction is continuing at the 27th Street and Midland Avenue roundabout. Detours are in place; please use caution when traveling through the construction area. The city’s Electric Department will continue to upgrade its system on Donegan Road. Donegan Road will be closed to through traffic between Sunny Acres and Vista Drive. This section of the road will be open to local traffic only. The construction work hours will be from 8:30 a.m. until 3 p.m. Monday through Friday. If you have any questions pertaining to this project, you may contact the city’s Electric Department at 384-6352. Sabrina Harris is transportation manager for the city of Glenwood Springs.

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