On Monday, Feb. 9th the Town Council kicked off their series of work sessions (to take place the second Monday of each month) with an informal discussion session on the history of the roundabout. The discussion answered a few FAQs that have arisen on the purpose of the roundabout, most recent design decisions, and what's next. You can view the full work session packet and presentation here
. Please note that the below summary is intended to capture key discussion points and do not serve as official meeting minutes.
Q: Why a roundabout?
Brush Creek Rd. and Wood Rd. is the busiest intersection in Snowmass Village. Looking at current traffic patterns and adequately planning for additional traffic volume in the future (due to continued expansion of the ski area and planned development at Base Village), the Town has been exploring measures to plan for infrastructure improvements for some time. The Town's Comprehensive Plan outlines the desire and importance to keep the rural character of Snowmass and not widen roads. Furthermore, our municipal code dictates that we maintain a level of service grade ‘C’ in Snowmass Village (Level of service measures congestion for roadways and intersections, and is based on numerical data on traffic volumes, speed, and delays).
As early as 2000 a roundabout was deemed as the best option to maintain the character of the community but also meet increasing multi-modal transportation demands with an acceptable level of service. The technical details of the roundabout’s design hves continued to evolve since 2004, but the ultimate goal to install a safe intersection for both pedestrian and vehicular traffic, and provide a welcoming statement to the community while working within the existing design constraints remains.
Q: Is this a safe option for pedestrians?
Staff pointed out that in its current state, the intersection is not well designed for pedestrian crossing. To cross Brush Creek Rd pedestrians must cross two lanes of traffic, as well as avoid vehicles making left and right hand turns. In its current design, the roundabout provides several important pedestrian safety improvements including refuges (or islands) which allow pedestrians to cross one lane of traffic at a time. Also, crosswalks placement (recessed from the yield into the roundabout for motorists) forces motorists to first stop for pedestrians, then proceed to the roundabout and yield to traffic, instead of having to do both at the same time.
Q: What about impacts to the Snowmass Conoco?
Access to the Conoco gas station has been a key consideration of the design team, and one of the parameters they have been working with according to Anne Martens and Clint Kinney. Access to and from the station, safety and access for fuel deliveries, and parking have all been issues that the design team has been and continues to consider.
Q: What will happen to traffic on Brush Creek Rd. when the roundabout is being constructed?
Similar to the deep utility work that occurred underneath Brush Creek Rd. in 2013, the roundabout project will be phased to minimize traffic impacts on Brush Creek Rd., Wood Rd., and Kearns Rd. as much as possible. As the roundabout design is finalized and construction plan is developed and vetted, the town will lead a sustained public relations campaign through the life of the project to ensure that the community, local businesses, and visitors know what’s coming up and how it will impact their travel.
Q: Where are we now and what’s next?
The design of the roundabout commenced in 2004 and, over the years the design team has continued to refine the design within multiple parameters with the input of impacted parties.
Most recent design modifications have included the shape of the medium
(to allow for truck movements), and a slip lane
allowing the constant flow of downhill traffic during peak times (e.g.
after the ski area closes). Currently, plans are near complete with a few exceptions. According to Anne Martens, the developer is continuing to refine the design to address technical details such as landscaping, bus stop geometry, and the structure and appearance of a retaining wall on Kearns Rd., (which is needed to reduce the grade approaching the roundabout).
As the design nears completion staff will provide another update to Council.
View Additional Coverage of the Meeting
Aspen Times: Town: Roundabout still best option for Snowmass road