Aspen hospital expansion means more traffic, council told |

Aspen hospital expansion means more traffic, council told

ASPEN ” The proposed expansion of Aspen Valley Hospital is expected to generate an additional 866 vehicle trips a day to the medical campus.

That was the estimate offered to the Aspen City Council on Monday by Alex Ariniello, a partner at Denver-based LSC Transportation Consultants, Inc., the firm hired by the hospital.

Based on recent traffic counts and other analyses, the current level is 752 trips into the AVH campus and 752 going out on a daily basis.

The expansion alone is expected to generate 234 new vehicle trips a day, and the addition of medical offices will attract an estimated 595 trips a day, according to Ariniello. The remaining car trips would be generated by the addition of new meeting rooms, Ariniello estimated.

Hospital officials are proposing a 214,395 square-foot addition at the Castle Creek site. The proposed two-story development includes a new underground parking garage and surface lot that would accommodate 338 spaces. Also included in the development plans are an expansion of the emergency and imaging departments, a surgical suite, central plant upgrades, as well as medical office space, patient and family services, and a rooftop heli-pad. The expansion to the existing 75,700-square-foot facility would occur in four phases with a complete build-out expected in 2016.

Ariniello said because many people travel into Aspen from downvalley to visit medical offices and AVH’s peak time is between 11 a.m. and noon, there will be a slight impact to traffic at the roundabout ” about a 3 percent increase.

AVH representatives are seeking conceptual approval on the hospital master plan from the council, which is expected to vote in the coming weeks. A final development proposal will be reviewed later this year.

The development team has responded to previous concerns from the council and the master plan now includes additional units in an assisted living center, as well as employee housing units on the campus so that AVH will house 100 percent of its workers to meet expected demand levels. Those employees will live on campus and in other AVH-owned housing, such as the old Beaumont Inn on the east end of Aspen and the Mountain Oaks complex next to the hospital.

AVH CEO Dave Ressler said about 48 additional employees will be generated based on projected demand, but that number might not be realized for years to come.

“We’re not at capacity now,” he said. “We may never get to, or for at least a long time, get to a full level.”

A detoxification facility also is expected to be introduced as part of the new campus. AVH representatives are expected to present details on a new facility to the council in future meetings.

The council appeared supportive of the conceptual plan, though some member voiced concerns and asked the development team to refine some of the details.

Councilman Jack Johnson said he supports the plan conceptually but said he wasn’t convinced that new medical offices wouldn’t generate more car trips than what has been suggested.

There was public comment from a handful of residents, who generally supported the master plan but offered suggestions on how to improve it.

Johnson said he was surprised there was not more public comment but expected it to increase once the council is scheduled to vote on the master plan.

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