Aspen’s Rubey Park should be open by Thanksgiving | AspenTimes.com

Aspen’s Rubey Park should be open by Thanksgiving

Work on Rubey Park transit facility continues as the planned Thanksgiving completion date approaches.

New buildings are beginning to rise at Rubey Park, and the city's main public transportation facility should be up and running by Thanksgiving, the city director of transportation said Monday.

"Trying to get a big facility built like that in one construction season is difficult," John Krueger said. "It's a real challenge. We're making a lot of good progress."

The $9.3 million project began in April, and the area along Durant Avenue between Mill and Galena streets has been a mess of construction all summer. The Rubey Park facility — where all Roaring Fork Transportation Authority buses for in-town and downvalley routes begin or end — was 30 years old and in need of renovation, Krueger said.

Most of the buildings were falling apart, sewer lines and sidewalks were in bad shape, the bus drivers' break room was in the attic and the way the buses parked and moved through the facility didn't flow very well, he said.

The facility needs to be up and functioning for the ski season, Krueger said. That means that three buildings — the bathrooms, the customer waiting area and the RFTA administration building — must be completed by Thanksgiving.

Currently, crews are working on building roofs and installing exterior brick on the buildings at the site, he said.

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That also means that the sidewalks, the waiting platform and Galena and Mill streets, which are blocked off on the blocks bordering Rubey Park, need to be open, Krueger said.

"That's the goal for Thanksgiving," he said. "It's pretty incredible really for a facility that size."

Some aspects of the project — mainly landscaping — won't be complete until June, Krueger said.

Dan Blankenship, RFTA chief executive officer, said the entire facility will present a far more pleasant experience for riders, including larger bathrooms, a larger indoor waiting area and a nicer outdoor waiting area.

"I feel really great about it," Blankenship said. "It's starting to really take shape now."

He also said the Thanksgiving end date is non-negotiable.

"Going beyond Thanksgiving is not an option," Blankenship said. "Right now it seems like everything is coming together."

The project is being paid for though a $1 million grant from the state; a $2 million grant from the federal government; $4.9 million from the Elected Officials Transportation Committee, which is made up of elected officials from Aspen, Pitkin County and Snowmass Village; as well as $500,000 from RFTA and $900,000 from the city of Aspen, Krueger said.

Rubey Park serves more than 2 million passengers a year and handles as many as 400 bus turnovers daily during peak season, Blankenship said.

jauslander@aspentimes.com