Lights, camera, traffic: town of Snowmass revisits roundabouts in village |

Lights, camera, traffic: town of Snowmass revisits roundabouts in village

The roundabout near the entrance to Snowmass.
Anna Stonehouse/Snowmass Sun |

How should the town of Snowmass move people around the village in the safest and most efficient manner as possible?

The answer to this question, as with any heated topic, depends on whom you ask.

For some, the notion of adding lights or beacons in the village first and foremost provokes a more philosophical discussion of “rural versus urban” amongst the community.

“What is the character of our town and what do we want it to look like?” Snowmass Town Councilman Bob Sirkus said during an update of the town’s new roundabouts at a council meeting Jan. 17.

“I don’t think we’ve answered that question,” he said. “Putting streetlights in equals urban.”

Others view the town’s lack of lighting at some busy areas, particularly at night, as a critical safety concern that trumps talk of whether Snowmass desires to be a more rural or urban community.

While “the community can weigh in” on this, the bottom line is that “it’s a safety issue,” Town Councilman Bill Madsen said at the meeting.

“We can have this conversation about rural versus urban, philosophically,” Madsen said. “But realistically we’ve got to be able to get people across.”

The intent of the discussion at the Jan. 17 council meeting was for town staff to provide the council with feedback on how the two new roundabouts and their respective design elements functioned throughout the peak holiday season.

The two new roundabouts are the “main roundabout” at the intersection of Brush Creek and Wood Road and the “mini-roundabout” along Wood Road and Carriage Way, said Anne Martens, town director of Public Works.

According to the town, the roundabout at Brush Creek Road and Wood Road is necessary to accommodate current traffic patterns and also plan for “additional traffic volume in the future (due to continued expansion of the ski area and planned development at Base Village.)”

The point at which Brush Creek and Wood roads meet is “the busiest intersection in Snowmass Village,” the town Public Works site states, and plans for a roundabout at this area date back to Base Village approvals during the early 2000s.

Following three phases of construction that spanned from April to September 2016, the two new roundabouts were completed in the fall, Martens said.

The roundabout at Brush Creek and Wood roads also brought two rapid flash beacons in Snowmass for the first time, she said.

At the Jan. 17 council meeting, Martens, Snowmass Chief of Police Brian Olsson and Transit Director David Peckler presented aerial footage of the new roundabouts in use over the holidays.

Martens said that altogether, the new roundabouts are working effectively and “as the (town) project team expected.”

As part of the town’s Community Connectivity Plan, the project team has recommended the council add rapid flashing beacons at other Snowmass roundabouts, Martens said.

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