Updated Gunnison Valley Transportation Plan released

“I appreciated the way they laid it out”

Creating an effective parking management plan for the town of Crested Butte and improving public transportation in Crested Butte South are both recommendations in the 2008 Gunnison Valley Transportation Plan update, but that doesn’t mean either will happen in the New Year.



The 2008 Gunnison Valley Transportation Plan is intended to give municipal and regional planners a better indication of when and where things like bus pull-offs, parking lots, pedestrian crossings, and “Park and Rides” should go in the valley. The study also examines the need for more public transportation, traffic safety and trail systems, but it does not cover air travel and airlines.
The plan was released earlier this month.
In April 2008, Gunnison County, the city of Gunnison and the towns of Crested Butte and Mt. Crested Butte agreed to split the cost of the $80,000 study and allocated funds in their respective 2008 budgets. The RTA helped organize the study.
Boulder-based Charlier and Associates, the firm hired for the updated study, conducted the last valley-wide transportation study in 1998.
RTA director Scott Truex says the 2008 plan isn’t an entirely new plan, but is an update of the one conducted in 1998, “taking into account the current situation and things that have changed.”
According to the 2008 Transportation Plan Update, “Since 1999, the Valley has made great strides in implementing the original Plan, with the most tangible accomplishment being the formation of the RTA and its funding and implementation of regional transit service year-round between Gunnison and Mt. Crested Butte. Conversely, some potential opportunities, such as gondola service (between Crested Butte and Mt. Crested Butte), have likely been lost. At the same time, current macro economic conditions, such as record oil and fuel prices and reduced consumer spending and sales tax revenue collections, are affecting local transportation in ways not envisioned in 1999. It is within this context that this 2008 Update has been prepared.”
Truex says one of the main technical differences between the update and the 1999 plan is that the earlier plan made transportation infrastructure recommendations based on a set timeline, whereas the updated plan makes recommendations based on the size of the community, traffic counts and other milestones.
It also presents various options for different transportation scenarios. In the example of public transportation in Crested Butte South, the plan recommends a Park and Ride facility near the intersection of Highway 135 and Cement Creek Road as the most cost-effective way to improve public transportation. On the other hand, the plan says a direct service into the subdivision would cost more, but could better fit the needs of the area based on ridership counts and surveys.
“I appreciated the way they laid it out with different options and recommendations,” Truex says.
Truex says each of the four entities involved in funding the study will find useful sections for transportation planning. “Of course [the RTA] will use the transit parts, but it encompasses much more than that,” he says.
Mt. Crested Butte mayor William Buck says the 2008 update seems to be in line with other transportation efforts the local municipalities and RTA have recently pursued. “It’s a very practical approach,” Buck says. “Now it’s time to move forward, and time to work on getting grant money and implementing some of these things in the plan.”
Crested Butte councilwoman Kimberly Metsch says she hasn’t read the document fully, but looks forward to using the 2008 update for future transportation planning. “I hope it will be helpful in determining the future of transportation in and through Crested Butte,” she says.
The plan is available online at www.box.net/shared/0sjhut258z.

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