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Snowmass Village narrows down ‘walkability’ ideas

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Elise Thatcher
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  Getting around Snowmass Village can be difficult at times, especially if you’re trying to walk from one side of a busy road to another. So town officials are narrowing down ways to improve tricky spots.

Anne Martens stands at the Town Park station, next to the Rodeo Lot and the Recreation Center. She describes our spot as basically the entrance to Snowmass Village. “This is not only the town shuttle stop but it’s also the location for one of the RFTA stops as it heads up the hill to the rest of the village,” she explains. “It’s [also] partially a park and ride for visitors [and] skiers. And then also there’s a large amount of employee housing adjacent to this area, that uses some of the local transit but also the RFTA transit to get to Aspe­n.”

It’s a good thing to have so many people using the bus. but, “what we see happening is that the pedestrians don’t use the crosswalks,” when they’re crossing from one side of Brush Creek to the other.

Martens, who’s the town’s Public Works Director, describes the problem this way: “there’s a large amount of pedestrian traffic — you can see the footpath, they’re coming across the golf course. There’s a sidewalk over there. So they come down that sidewalk and then if they’re going to the downvalley stop they’ll just go right there,” Martens points to a bus shelter across Brush Creek from where we’re standing. If people want to catch a bus on this side of the road, they often head right across several lanes of traffic, instead of walking twenty or so feet down the road to the crosswalk. So Martens and others are exploring ways to make it a better pedestrian crossing.

That could include narrowing Brush Creek to slow down vehicles, adding more lighting, or changing the surface of the road. The redesign is part of the Community Connectivity Plan, which the Town is gathering public input on. Town Council has the final say, if approved, some changes could begin as early as this summer.

“I cross by here all the time, I live over near Club Commons,” says Snowmass Village resident Jesse Schenk a little later on this sunny afternoon. “I also drive regularly for my job, and I usually drive at night.”  This afternoon, Schenk almost goes for the shortcut across Brush Creek Road that Anne Martens described. But there was too much traffic for him.

“So right there I realized you know what, these guys aren’t going to slow down,” he gestures at a line of cars, “I don’t want to run on a wet pavement...I’m coming over here to the bus, I’ve got enough time, I’ll take the detour [to the existing crosswalk].” Changes to this spot and other places around Snowmass Village could take that split-second decision out of the equation.

 

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