Restrooms canned in Brush Creek BRT plan
The Aspen Times
Aspen, CO Colorado
ASPEN – The planned new bus station at a key transit hub, the Brush Creek intercept lot, will be flush with modern technology, but not flush toilets.
Pitkin County commissioners were disappointed last week to learn the proposed Bus Rapid Transit stop at Brush Creek won’t offer indoor restrooms.
“It just seems to me that’s a huge amenity that people are going to want,” said Commissioner Rachel Richards. It’s especially important since the Brush Creek stop is in a rural area, with no other services in the vicinity, she said.
Restrooms were initially part of the plans for the station, said Mike Hermes, trails/facilities manager and BRT project manager for the Roaring Fork Transportation Authority, but there is no sewer or water infrastructure within 2,000 feet of the site. RFTA would need to install a leach field and drill a well in order to install the facilities, adding an estimated half-million dollars or more to the cost, he said.
“We had it in the design,” Hermes said. “When we started costing it out, it got pretty pricey pretty quick. We just don’t have the money to do that.
“We’re going with nice enclosures and the nicest porta-johns we can buy.”
The porta plan didn’t satisfy Commissioner Michael Owsley.
“I agree with Rachel,” he said. “It’s essential that we have bathrooms at a major crossroads and stop. There’s just no way around it.”
The Brush Creek intercept lot, at the intersection of Highway 82 and Brush Creek Road, is currently served by porta-johns. It’s a busy stop, with riders transferring between buses bound for Snowmass Village, Aspen and points down the valley. The stop fronts a large parking lot, where commuters can leave their vehicles and travel into Snowmass or Aspen via bus.
The Brush Creek station will be one of nine between Glenwood Springs and Aspen for the Bus Rapid Transit, or BRT, system, which has been dubbed VelociRFTA. It will feature stations with real-time bus information and an automated fare system. The goal is to move commuters quickly up and down the Highway 82 corridor. VelociRFTA will stop only at key stations in order to speed up travel time between points along the line.
RFTA is in the process of designing and planning the BRT system with the hope of constructing the stations this year, pending the allocation of federal dollars, Hermes said.
It is possible to design the Brush Creek station for the addition of restrooms at a later date, he said. Commissioners suggested they are interested in further discussing how to finance the facilities.
“I don’t know how we get there, but maybe we get there together,” Owsley said.
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