Resort, city looking at how expansion at Steamboat Resort will impact traffic
Editor’s note: In the original article, Steamboat Pilot & Today incorrectly spelled Ben Beall’s name. Beall’s name has been corrected.
As Steamboat Resort plans to expand by 355 acres, add a second gondola and revamp its base, city officials are working with the resort to address traffic and transit concerns they foresee coming alongside an increase in visitors.
Steamboat Ski & Resort Corp. is conducting the study, and the city will review it when it’s complete. City Engineer Ben Beall said staff encouraged the resort to examine parking, traffic and transit in one comprehensive study, as all of those are expected to be concerns with the expansion.
“Summer is growing traffic at the base area over the past few years, but it’s really the winter months that see the most traffic and user needs at the base area,” Beall said.
Beall said the study aims to identify specific improvements that could be made to the Gondola Transit Center, as the resort’s plans include most skiers and riders getting to the mountain by bus, which could be either Steamboat Springs Transit or a company shuttle.
“That’s been a long priority of the city and the Urban Renewal authority, and it’s been identified in the most recent transportation renewal plan,” Beall said. “One of the most important aspects to consider is how that’s going to function when the ski area sees 20% growth in users.”
The city also has outlined a plan to redo its portion of the Gondola Transit Center.
While the project is in its early phases, Jon Snyder, director of the Steamboat Springs Public Works department, said the city hopes to make the area more pedestrian-friendly, which could eventually involve making part of Mount Werner Road for pedestrians and emergency vehicles only.
Snyder, who is overseeing the project, said the center presents an issue for both vehicles and pedestrians as it currently functions because every vehicle dropping people off at the resort has to do so in the same small space.
“There are a lot of issues up at the Gondola Transit Center, and I would say that the biggest thing is just there’s so many different things going on at the same time,” Steamboat Springs Transit Manager Jonathan Flint said. “Often people in skis and ski boots aren’t going to be walking that quickly.”
In addition to a revamp of the transit center, Beall said the study hopes to identify ways for motorists to see which lots are full before driving to the base.
“The effort that we’re doing with this comprehensive traffic study would outline a way forward that the city and Ski Corp. can work toward mitigating the impacts of this growth that would occur on the ski area over the next five and 30-year time frames,” Beall said.
To reach Alison Berg, call 970-871-4229 or email aberg@SteamboatPilot.com.
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