Changes planned on mountain |

Changes planned on mountain

City discusses new configuration for Mount Werner Circle

Avi Salzman

— Mount Werner Circle is ready for some major changes to improve pedestrianization, traffic flow, visibility and safety, say city officials and local business owners.

The City Council decided recently to approve a general plan for the area near the Steamboat Grand that would narrow the circle to two main lanes from four and change the orientation of the Gondola Transit Center to make it more bus and people friendly.

The council made it clear it wanted pedestrian safety to be a top priority in the redevelopment of the area.

“Pedestrian safety is our highest concern,” said Councilwoman Arianthtettner.

The move to narrow Mount Werner Circle is meant to help pedestrians cross the road safely, said Public Works Director Jim Weber. The less pavement people have to cross, the less likely they are to get into an accident, he said.

The city hired a consultant last year to study the traffic flow on Mount Werner Circle and decide whether the city could reduce the number of lanes. The consultant found that reducing the lanes did not considerably slow traffic flow, even on major holiday weekends.

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Transportation Director George Krawzoff is pushing for at least 12 to 14 bus bays and a new safer configuration at the transit center, among other things.

Stettner said she thinks the new plan for the area, with better signs, should also help make the entrances and exits to Ski Time Square more understandable to residents and visitors.

The city will probably not be spending money to improve the area this year given current budget projections but could be compelled to make changes soon based on a development agreement with the Grand and the city’s own plans for the area. The total cost will likely approach or exceed $2.5 million, paid for by private groups, special districts and public entities.