Safer walkways for Snowmass pedestrians; town council OKs $100k for 3 crosswalks | AspenTimes.com

Safer walkways for Snowmass pedestrians; town council OKs $100k for 3 crosswalks

Traffic at the intersection of Owl Creek and Brush Creek roads Sept. 22. Town Council approved funds for three new crosswalks on Brush Creek Road at a meeting July 15.
Anna Stonehouse/Snowmass Sun

Three intersections along a half-mile stretch of Brush Creek Road will become safer for people to cross after Snowmass Village Town Council approved better crossing paths and warning lights for motorists.

While the discussion about a potential roundabout at the intersection of Owl Creek Road was kicked down the road July 15, Town Council approved spending $100,000 to add a pedestrian crossings at that intersection as well as at Sinclair Road, which has a crossing but not pedestrian-activated warning beacons, and Faraway Road, where there currently is no designated crosswalk.

The upgrades are expected to be finished by the end of the year, Town Manager Clint Kinney said after the meeting. He said there is money in the 2019 road improvements budget that will be used for the crosswalk improvements.

All of the intersections have bus stops on both sides of Brush Creek Road, and the crossings also will help with those using the trails system.

The three-way intersection at Sinclair Road comes at the top of a hill and drivers especially coming up Brush Creek Road can have a hard time seeing pedestrians. It’s been the topic of safety concerns for years.

“I think we should get going on the Sinclair intersection, like, last year. That is a really scary intersection and I can’t believe nobody’s been killed there,” Councilman Bill Madsen said July 15. “It’s really, really a dangerous spot.”

A question remains if there should be two sets of rapid-flashing beacons near that interchange, one set on either side as to pre-warn drivers coming up the hill and another set at the crossing. Council asked to have the traffic engineers look at if both are needed or if there is a different option to having just one set of lights.

The intersections at Owl Creek and Faraway roads will have designated crossings on the downhill side and flashing beacons. Officials will hone in on the exact locations of the crosswalks, but they will be situated so those getting off the bus will cross the road behind it.

“We’re trying to keep it relatively simple,” Kinney told council. “These are good first steps and improvements.”

There was an initial idea to have a second crosswalk above the Faraway Road interchange as well as one going across Faraway to the bus stop and trail access. But per Councilman Bob Sirkus’s suggestion the decision was made to have just one there for now to see if it will help funnel people going to the downhill bus stop past the intersection.

Kinney and Police Chief Brian Olson said that the intersection has the most pedestrian activity along that stretch of road.

Olson said large groups staying in the condo complexes along the Woodbridge roads start to cross Brush Creek there to begin their “diagonal attack across the road in groups of 15 to get to that bus stop on a regular basis.”

Butler wants to go with the one crossing for a year to monitor how it works, “and we just tell the people in Woodbridge (area) ‘OK, behave.’” Then put in a second one if needed above Faraway Road.

The crossing at Owl Creek will come with an asterisk. It will be added but eventually would be removed if a roundabout is put at that three-way interchange.

Council was going to continue decades-long discussion on a roundabout at Owl Creek, but decided to wait until results from the current community survey come back in September.

There is not a specific question on the survey about the roundabout, but it has questions about overall transportation and traffic in Snowmass. The survey is available at the town’s website and the deadline has been extended until Sunday, assistant town manager Travis Elliott said Monday.

The roundabout, which would be estimated at about $6 million to $7 million, was discussed most recently in May. The two current options are different in size of the actual roundabout as well as a right-turn lane from Brush Creek to Owl Creek. At that meeting, council asked town staff to review the entire stretch from Faraway to Sinclair, prompting the current changes.

“We’re in the middle of a community survey. Let’s see what folks are thinking in terms of these intersections,” Butler said.

dkrause@aspentimes.com


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