Town officials signal interest in Community Connectivity Plan

Council, staff looking to move toward formal adoption

The Sky Cab "Skittles" gondola transports passengers between Base Village and the Snowmass Mall on Monday, March 14, 2022. The town's yet-to-be-adopted Community Connectivity Plan includes ideas on how to improve connections between those two nodes as well as the Snowmass Center.
Kaya Williams/The Snowmass Sun

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?”


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