Steamboat seeks to renovate the resort’s gondola transit center

A Steamboat Springs Transit bus awaits at the Gondola Transit Center earlier in 2021. The city has drawn up an initial plan to renovate the space.
Dylan Anderson / Steamboat Pilot and Today’s Archives

The town of Steamboat Springs has presented a plan to redo its part of the Gondola Transit Center, where Steamboat Springs Transit buses, vacation shuttles and vans owned by Steamboat Ski & Resort Corp. drop off passengers at the base of the station.

While the project is still in its early stages, Jon Snyder, director of Steamboat’s public works department, said the city hopes to make the area more pedestrian-friendly, which could potentially involve closing the section. from Mount Werner Road nearest the resort to most vehicles. and make it only for pedestrians, except emergency vehicles.

Snyder, who oversees the project, said the center, as it currently operates, is a problem for vehicles and pedestrians, as every vehicle that drops people off at the complex has to do so in the same small space.

“There are a lot of issues at the Gondola Transit Center, and I would say the most important thing is that there are so many different things going on at the same time,” said Jonathan Flint, director of Steamboat Springs Transit. . “Often people with skis and ski boots won’t walk that fast.”

In addition to the high number of pedestrians carrying heavy equipment, Flint helps snow and ice in winter make the area even more difficult for drivers to navigate.

“It can be quite a bit of maneuvering to get around there,” Flint said.

While pedestrians getting off buses and shuttles often cause congestion problems for other pedestrians and vehicles, Snyder said the busy sidewalk at Mount Werner Circle, where vehicles leave after dropping off passengers, also creates traffic and congestion problems.

“We think we can do a lot better by creating a good sense of belonging,” Snyder said. “We need a good transit center, but it doesn’t have to be just a utility transit center. “

Snyder said the ultimate goal is to make the area more pedestrian-friendly. The city owns about half the space, while Ski Corp. owns the other half, although Snyder said the city plans Ski Corp. will cover a large part of the project costs.

Snyder compared the current transit hub to the passenger pickup and drop-off areas at Denver International Airport, which includes upper and lower levels and an efficient system to ensure that the thousands of people who use the airport every day can pass easily. .

While such systems work well in their goal of moving large amounts of passengers across a large space in a short period of time, Snyder said a transit hub in a complex should have a very different feel than an airport. .

“It’s meant to move a considerable number of people, but it’s not necessarily a nice place or a nice place to go,” Snyder said. “When you have a resort area, you need an efficient transit center, but simultaneously you need a place where people want to go and where they feel they have arrived in a nice place when they are there. are coming. ”

Snyder stressed that the city will seek “solid” public comment before making any decisions or changes.

“We really want to spend a good chunk of the next 12-14 months designing it, and then hopefully we can start to dive into construction in 2023, but a lot of that depends on Ski Corp. and their goals. Snyder said.

The project is part of the city’s larger Mountain Area Master Plan, which helps guide Steamboat Springs City Council and Planning Departments in making decisions regarding the area surrounding Steamboat Resort. So far, public comments on this plan have highlighted the need for more nightlife and year-round attractions in the region, not just during the winter season.

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