Town Council asked officials to come back with guiding criteria for the continued transit center design planning after visiting the proposed site area on the Village Mall on Oct. 7.
For about an hour, council members talked through the current design renderings with town transportation director David Peckler and town manager Clint Kinney on the mall, including what the planned center could look like to scale.
According to Peckler, the new transit center would help alleviate some of the traffic and pedestrian congestion during peak seasons, as well as create safer access from the parking areas to the Village Mall.
“We’re trying to balance the pedestrian and bus movement and are looking to the future,” Peckler said during the site visit.
The preferred design option includes a single bus platform at the mall level with four Roaring Fork Transportation Authority bus bays, and six local shuttle bus bays, along with a roughly 60-space parking area below the bus platform that will replace the existing Lot 6.
The final mall transit project total is estimated at $8.7 million, with the majority of the money going toward the parking area.
Just under $6 million will be funded by the Elected Officials Transportation Committee, Peckler and Kinney explained, and staff is looking at state and federal grant funding for the majority of the remaining funds needed. The Roaring Fork Transit Authority also plans to contribute $500,000 and construction management to the project.
Town Council approved the continued design of the transit center, based on this preferred option Aug. 19.
But after the success of the new Coffey Place housing site visit, council members decided at their Sept. 3 meeting to also visit the transit center area.
During the site visit and the regular council meeting that followed Oct. 7, Town Council expressed concerns with the size of the proposed transit center.
The current design plan shows the new center would extend from the existing mall transit area to the edge of Lot 5, and rise to roughly the same height as the top of the garage behind the mall building adjacent to Lot 6, where Fuel Cafe is located.
“I would like to hear more from the community on the massiveness in size of this, and the cost,” said Councilman Tom Goode at the regular meeting. “I’m still not convinced that massive structure in my mind is the answer right now.”
But although council had some concerns with the current mall transit center design, the site visit also helped ease the minds of some council members.
“It is big, but when we were looking at the story poles and at the parking garage, I think that gives a nice visualization,” said Councilman Bill Madsen, noting that there are already buildings of similar height and proportion on the mall.
“Snowmass is vertically challenged, so I think providing a flat area where people can gather, cross the road and not feel challenged is very important.”
For the first part of the Oct. 7 regular meeting, council discussed the pros and cons of the proposed center with Kinney and Peckler, along with the potential for looking at other design options from years past.
The discussion led council to decide on drafting a set of guiding criteria, or main goals and values of the new transit center and how it would impact Snowmass.
“If we’re going to do it, we need to do it right. I don’t want 20 years from now a family to say, ‘Why the heck did they do it this way?’” said Mayor Markey Butler of the new mall transit center.
Kinney and Peckler agreed to bring these criteria before council for discussion and approval by mid-November. The town has spent roughly $50,000 on the transit center design so far, and has $650,000 of its EOTC funds allocated for further design in the town’s 2020 budget, if Town Council approves it, Kinney said.