Town officials signal interest in Community Connectivity Plan
Council, staff looking to move toward formal adoption
After nearly half a decade yielding to other plans, the Snowmass Village Community Connectivity Plan is merging back onto the road toward formal adoption.
Town Council members signaled at a March 21 meeting that they’re ready to set the wheels in motion on a finalized, updated version that will set priorities to help connect the town’s hubs with motorized and human-powered transportation in mind. Linking up the Snowmass Center, Base Village and the Snowmass Mall has been one of the foundations of the plan; likewise for pedestrian safety and accessibility and for a strong transportation network town-wide.
The plan is still in draft mode and is due for some tweaks and edits still before council seals the deal with a formal adoption. For a proposal first teed up more than six years ago, Councilwoman Alyssa Shenk said it’s about dang time.
“I’d make a motion right now to approve the thing — it has been way too long,” Shenk said.
Work on the plan began in the fall of 2015 when council had set community connectivity as a top priority that spring. Town officials spent several months developing the plan but council never adopted the draft that came into the fray in 2016.
The plan got shelved because the council wanted to first focus on the updated Comprehensive Plan, Mayor Bill Madsen said at this week’s meeting. (That Comprehensive Plan was adopted in 2018; like Shenk, Madsen said he believes it’s time for adoption.)
Still, the idea of connecting the town’s nodes stuck around on council goals in 2017, 2019 and 2021. The latest iteration of council goals, from 2021, emphasizes the connection among those three commercial hubs in the core of Snowmass Village and also includes a goal to improve pedestrian and cyclist safety along Highline Road between Brush Creek Road and Owl Creek Road.
The current Town Council reviewed the 2016 draft over several meetings in February 2021 and reviewed an updated draft in March 2021, according to the agenda summary for this week’s council discussion.
Since around this time last year when council last set eyes on the plan, “no work has been done on this document,” the summary states.
Town officials are now inclined to button it up and codify the plan for the long haul.
“I think that I’ve always been a proponent of the plan — I think its biggest asset is that it provides direction,” Shenk said.
It’s the sitting council that ultimately sets priorities, Town Manager Clint Kinney said.
To that end, some projects mentioned in the Community Connectivity Plan, like rapid-flashing beacons at some crosswalks, have already been implemented based on council direction. Some others are currently in the works, like the pedestrian connection along Highline Road and another along the curve of Brush Creek Road between the turnoff for Divide Road and the Snowmass Mall, Kinney noted.
Staff see the plan as a “high-level view” of connectivity in the village, Transportation Director David Peckler said. Kinney shared a similar sentiment.
“We think the goals are right — largely, the projects are right. … We’re not trying to get the details, we’re just trying to make sure that as we go forward, we’re right,” Kinney said.
And if practice proves otherwise, there’s always room to adapt, Public Works Director Anne Martens said.
“The way I look at things too is: try things, and then if they don’t work, we’re not stuck forever,” Martens said. “If it’s completely not right, then we revisit, what’s a better solution?”
Support Local Journalism
Support Local Journalism
Readers around Aspen and Snowmass Village make the Aspen Times’ work possible. Your financial contribution supports our efforts to deliver quality, locally relevant journalism.
Now more than ever, your support is critical to help us keep our community informed about the evolving coronavirus pandemic and the impact it is having locally. Every contribution, however large or small, will make a difference.
Each donation will be used exclusively for the development and creation of increased news coverage.
The town of Snowmass Village has its eyes on some safety improvements on Highline Road and a section of Brush Creek Road that will give pedestrians and cyclists a little more room to breathe on the side of the road.