Parking lot uses could change in near future
Upper valley transportation officials are looking at how to better manage two large area parking lots to better benefit both residents and tourists.
While the study is still in the early phases, those officials appeared Tuesday in front of Pitkin County commissioners to present a grab-bag of ideas to better use the parking lot at Buttermilk Ski Mountain and the Intercept Lot at Brush Creek Road and Highway 82. Some of the ideas could also reduce traffic at the entrance to Aspen.
“This is essentially a brain-storming session about uses for these two areas,” said Commissioner Michael Owsley. Brian Pettet, the county’s public works director, affirmed that was the main idea for Tuesday’s work session, and said he and the other officials plan to present the ideas to the Aspen City Council and the Snowmass Village Town Council to find out what elected officials want to see happen with the two areas.
The officials, who also include John Krueger, Aspen transportation director, Mitch Osur, the city’s parking director and David Peckler, Snowmass Village transportation director, have a number of ideas for the two lots.
The Intercept Lot currently has 200 paved, lined spaces that have been nearly full this winter, Osur said. However, there is a total of between 1,300 and 1,800 spots at the lot that can be used for other things, Pettet said.
One option is to pave, stripe and extend lighting to another 200 spaces, which are located next to the paved spaces but are not generally used by people who park there, Osur said.
“It appears people don’t like to park in the unpaved area,” he said, because of the lack of lighting and paving.
Another idea is to relocate the carpool parking lot from the airport to the Intercept Lot. The city currently issues about 250 carpool passes per day to vehicles containing two or more people, Osur said.
Commissioner Patti Clapper said that concerned her because it would heavily impact the intersection with Highway 82.
Other ideas for the Intercept Lot include building an arrival center that would have information about area towns and forests, installing an electric vehicle charging station, extending Wi-Fi to the lot and putting up a message board that would be able to tell drivers how much time they’d save getting into Aspen if they get on the free bus, Pettet said.
Officials are also looking at charging RV owners to park there on a longer term basis, charging for people to stage construction vehicles or recreational trips like rafting or snowmobiling at the lot, building a coffeeshop with ski and bike lockers and building bathroom facilities.
The Intercept Lot is currently owned by the state transportation department, which might be willing to give it up to local municipalities for less than market value if it was to continue to be used to for transportation, Pettet said. The lot is currently leased to the Roaring Fort Transit Authority and the city of Aspen, though it is also co-managed by Pitkin County and Snowmass Village, he said.
With 347 paved, lined spaces, the Buttermilk parking lot is currently at capacity during the winter months, but not used much between April and November, Pettet said.
At that lot, officials want to enhance the pedestrian connection between the parking and the bus stop, he said. They also are looking in to building an underpass to enhance pedestrian safety, he said.
Finally, the lot could possibly handle construction vehicle staging, long-term vehicle parking and possibly trailhead parking for the nearby Sky Mountain Park.
The Aspen City Council was scheduled to hear the same presentation during Tuesday’s work session.
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