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Village Voices: Shuttles clogging Snowmass Center

A file photo of the Snowmass Center and entrance to Clark's Market taken in February 2019.
File photo/Snowmass Sun

For this month’s Town Talk, the Snowmass Sun was asked to look at the private shuttle problem at the Snowmass Center.

According to Tom Hills, Snowmass Village resident, hotel, lodge and private shuttles are causing problems for other town shuttles, pedestrians and drivers when they pull up in the area adjacent to the Clark’s Market entrance, park and wait for their guests to get what they need before moving.

After reading through Hills’ concern, the Snowmass Sun reached out first to Town Manager Clint Kinney to see if he was aware of this problem and what authority the town had at the Snowmass Center to address it.

Kinney said the traffic congestion in general, especially during the peak holiday season, at the center has been an ongoing issue since he started as town manager, and that the town doesn’t have much authority to ticket or legally address the hotel shuttle problem since it is happening on private property.

“I’m not sure it’s been any worse this year, but we know it occurs and agree that the problem needs to be addressed,” Kinney said on behalf of town staff of the private shuttle problem. “But it’s not a town right of way, it’s private property, so there’s not much we can do to enforce it.”

Because the town and its law enforcement don’t have much say at center, the Snowmass Sun reached out to its owner, Eastwood Snowmass Investors, next.

Rob Cairncross, an Eastwood Snowmass Investors managing partner, said on-site management does its best to make it easy for all traffic to come and go at the Center, but acknowledged the hotel shuttle parking problem outside of Clark’s Market and how it needs to be better addressed. He said he feels that many of the private shuttle drivers change year after year and may not know where they can park at the center.

In the long term, Cairncross said Eastwood Snowmass Investors and its development team plan to address both the overall traffic issues and the hotel shuttle parking violations through its proposed redevelopment of the Snowmass Center, which Town Council is in the process of reviewing.

Cairncross said the redevelopment plan includes a separate transit center for town shuttles outside of the main center area, two-way roadways for better traffic flow in general, and several pull out zones for hotel shuttles to utilize when transporting their guests.

“We feel our proposed plan and its new layout will really address these concerns,” Cairncross said.

In the short term, Cairncross went on to say that the center’s facility’s manager, Soren Sorenson, has been dedicated to trying to move the hotel shuttles out from in front of Clark’s Market, which also id a town of Snowmass Village bus stop, when he sees them parked, but that a more firm solution needs to be pursued.

Both Cairncross and Kinney said they plan to reach out to the town’s hotels and lodges to ensure their drivers know the rules of the road at the Snowmass Center, and urged hotel shuttle drivers to drop their guests off, then park in a parking space versus in the main circulation loop of the center in front of the market.

“We want to do all we can given the lay of the land and the existing conditions in place to fix this, but it’s tough during the busy times,” Cairncross said. “We could do more and plan in the near term to talk with the hotels and lodges and in the long term to address the problem through our redevelopment plan.”

Because not one hotel or lodge was named as causing problems at the Snowmass Center, and because there are more than a few hotels and lodges in the village, the Sun did not feel it relevant to reach out to one or all hotels and lodges for this Town Talk response, but welcomes their input. Email mvincent@aspentimes.com.


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