RFTA, Glenwood set to launch Grand Avenue Alternatives Analysis | AspenTimes.com

RFTA, Glenwood set to launch Grand Avenue Alternatives Analysis

Matthew Bennett
Glenwood Springs Post Independent
A bus rider boards the local Glenwood RFTA bus in downtown Glenwood.
Chelsea Self / Post Independent

Glenwood Springs and the Roaring Fork Transit Authority are putting more than $600,000 toward identifying and implementing traffic solutions on Grand Avenue.

The city of Glenwood Springs will spend approximately $319,000 and RFTA about $290,000 on the Grand Avenue Alternatives Analysis.

RFTA board member and Glenwood Springs mayor Jonathan Godes said the analysis would look at ways in which to reduce commuter traffic, provide extended Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) service to the downtown as well as add parking.

“One of the bigger things we can do is try to get more people in western Garfield County that are commuting through Glenwood onto mass transit,” Godes said. “We can have 57 people on a bus instead of 57 individual cars.”

Currently, RFTA has BRT stops at 27th Street in Glenwood Springs and at the West Glenwood Park and Ride.

RFTA officials say the analysis will identify possible locations for a BRT facility downtown similar to that of Rubey Park Transit Center in Aspen.

“We could have a facility where transfers could be occurring between Ride Glenwood, RFTA BRT and the Hogback service that goes out to New Castle and Rifle,” said Kurt Ravenschlag, RFTA chief operating officer. “But, it all is kind of premised on what are our alignment (options) for extending BRT to the downtown.”

The analysis will look at alignment options other than just Grand Avenue.

“We’ll certainly be evaluating all alternatives of potential parallel alignments,” Ravenschlag said. “There are some that will probably be easily ruled out just because they are not appropriate for operating this type of service.”

The Moving Forward Together U.S. EPA Brownfields’ area-wide plan adopted by the Glenwood Springs City Council in February identified one possible location for a parking structure at Colorado Avenue and Seventh Street in downtown.

In that schematic, the 592-space parking structure spanned over Colorado Avenue. Additionally, the transit center resided along Colorado Avenue near Seventh Street.

“It would have been a massive structure and I don’t think anybody actually liked that,” Godes said of the hypothetical parking structure over Colorado Avenue contemplated in the area-wide plan.

However, Godes stressed the need for mass transit in downtown Glenwood Springs, particularly with the number of downtown employees already competing for parking.

The city developed the area-wide plan to help inform and integrate the confluence’s redevelopment, the Sixth Street corridor master plan, Seventh Street and Two Rivers Park.

According to Ravenschlag, the Grand Avenue Alternatives Analysis’ consultant team will include a host of subcontractors with various expertise in traffic, parking and transit analysis.

Ravenschlag added that the project management team lives in Glenwood Springs.

The entire analysis carries a price tag of $609,783.