The Roaring Fork Transportation Authority is laying giant eggs at its bus stations.
The oversized eggs are a nod to VelociRFTA, the name of RFTA’s bus-rapid-transit service, scheduled to debut this fall. Bus stations that will serve the speedier, new bus system are under construction along Highway 82 between Aspen and Glenwood Springs; the eggs are a recent addition.
They’ve been stockpiled at the new park-and-ride lot being built in El Jebel and have started popping up at various stations, emerging from the ground like paleontological surprises.
They’re actually made of concrete, formed around a foam core, and are meant to occupy kids while they wait for buses, according to Mike Hermes, RFTA’s project manager for the facility upgrades.
“They’re for kids to play on. They’re kind of decorative … and it kind of fits in with the dinosaur theme,” he said.
Dinosaur footprints also have been imprinted in the sidewalks around the VelociRFTA stations.
“The footprints are actually to scale. The eggs are colossally too big,” Hermes said.
They’re large enough for youngsters to climb on or an adult to sit on.
Though some stations are nearing completion, there are gravel areas around them where eggs can be placed. Finished surfaces won’t be torn up to add the eggs, Hermes said.
The surfaces around the bus stations have been outfitted with snowmelt systems to keep the areas free of ice and snow, but in Aspen and Pitkin County, such outdoor-energy uses require payment into the Renewable Energy Mitigation Program.
The new stations at Basalt, the Brush Creek intercept lot, the Aspen Business Center and Buttermilk involve a total of 3,500 square feet of heated surfaces — 400 square feet at each station except Brush Creek, which will have 1,500 square feet of snowmelt.
RFTA has paid a $350,000 mitigation fee but has asked that the bus stations be exempt because the snowmelt surfaces are a public-safety issue, Hermes said.
Areas where passengers load and unload from buses are a critical area, and the more frequent service associated with VelociRFTA makes it impractical to manually remove ice and snow, he said in a letter to county officials.
A proposed public- and life-safety exception to the Renewable Energy Mitigation Program will go before county commissioners today for discussion.
The $46 million VelociRFTA system, scheduled to be operational in September, will feature high-tech buses and stations with the intention of providing faster service along Highway 82 between Aspen and Glenwood Springs.