Meeting next month targets valley transit | AspenTimes.com

Meeting next month targets valley transit

Will the S-curves ever be straightened? What’s the latest on the train? Will it take nearly an hour to get down Aspen’s Main Street next summer, too? And just who are the players when it comes to tackling local transit issues?These and other transportation-related questions will be addressed when the Elected Officials Transportation Committee (EOTC) and the New Century Transportation Foundation (NCTF) join together for a transportation mini-symposium next month.”I’ve been wondering for quite some time now, where the heck are we when it comes to transit.” said Pitkin County Commissioner Jack Hatfield. “And where do we go from here?” added Aspen City Councilwoman Rachel Richards.NCTF representatives Alice Laird and Bob Schultz requested the summit at Thursday’s EOTC meeting. The goal, according to a memo from Laird to the EOTC, would be “to develop a common understanding and direction among upper valley governments regarding where we’ve come over the last 10 years of transportation planning, and look to the future regarding timing, funding, the special needs between Brush Creek Road and Rubey Park, and what it will take to move forward.”The NCTF will also present the EOTC with an update of its work to date. NCTF was formed with the goal of creating public-private partnerships, as well as finding ways to implement the valley’s bus rapid-transit plan and encourage transit-focused development patterns throughout the region. The organization was funded to the tune of $120,000 by the EOTC in 2004 and 2005.And while the EOTC voted in favor of holding the mini-symposium, some members were unclear on the NCTF’s place in the valley’s transportation matrix.”I’m confused,” said Aspen Mayor Helen Klanderud. “It seems to me we’ve just created another layer of, and I don’t like to use this word but it fits, bureaucracy. What is New Century’s role and what is RFTA’s role? Are we duplicating efforts here?”Schultz responded that NCTF sees itself as a “convener and facilitator” for transportation talks. Which, agreed most members of the EOTC, is an important role at this juncture.”It’s essential that we’re all brought up to speed,” said Pitkin County Commissioner Dorothea Farris. “Then we can sit back and see more clearly what the inter-relationships are and how to move forward.”Snowmass Village Town Councilman Bill Boineau agreed. “We need our questions answered, and then we can look at which roads to take.”The EOTC-NCTF transportation mini-symposium is scheduled for Wednesday, Nov. 30, from noon to 4 p.m.Jeanne McGovern’s e-mail address is jmcgovern@aspentimes.com

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