West Steamboat bus service expansion would cost $4.65 million in capital | SteamboatToday.com

West Steamboat bus service expansion would cost $4.65 million in capital

Scott Franz

A Steamboat Springs Transit bus cruises through downtown Steamboat.

— West Steamboat Springs residents who are hoping a potential large new development and annexation on their end of town might quickly spur the city to send buses to their neighborhoods shouldn't hold their breath.

City officials are recommending that the city maintain the status quo and continue bus service only as far as the KOA campgrounds in the near future.

The city estimates it would cost a hefty sum of $4.65 million, plus an additional $700,000 in annual operating costs, to expand local bus service to the new development proposed by Brynn Grey as well as Downhill Drive, Silver Spur, Steamboat II and Heritage Park.

Those costs include three new buses at $650,000 a pop plus approximately 20 new transit stops at $135,000 apiece.

One bus would travel along U.S. 40 all the way to Steamboat II before turning around.

Another would make a right onto Elk River Road, then a left on Downhill Drive before traveling to Silver Spur and turning around.

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The city will not advocate for providing such bus service out west until at least 700 households are occupied in the new service area.

Currently, the estimates west Steamboat is about 300 households short of that threshold, and it will likely take a number of years to reach.

"Our current service is at max or maybe even a little beyond on what we can really provide in the hour and 20 minute loops," Transit Manager Jonathan Flint said Friday. "It looks like it would be really simple to continue for another quarter mile or half mile (on U.S. 40). But we don't have that wiggle room in our existing service."

Brynn Grey is proposing a total of 444 residential units that would be built in phases.

There would be a way to provide bus service to the new Brynn Grey neighborhoods off of Routt County Road 42 without additional budget costs, but it would require the elimination of the bus stops at the Routt County Justice Center and Lift-Up of Routt County.

City officials do not think that plan should be adopted at this time, nor do they think it would result in a net gain of bus riders.

There have been multiple calls for bus service in west Steamboat as new businesses and residences are built.

Flint said the calls have come from such places as car repair businesses, pot dispensaries, West End Village and Heritage Park.

The latest discussion about west end transit was spurred by Brynn Grey’s large housing proposal.

Transit services and road infrastructure at the proposed housing developments will be discussed Tuesday at a City Council work session.

Another hot topic for the council and the developers will be to determine how much the developers should pitch in for intersection and road improvements in the area.

The council and the developers are in the process of vetting what would amount to a pre-annexation proposal.

Voters will likely have the final say as to whether the city should annex new neighborhoods on the west end of the city limits.

The work session is open to the public and starts at 5 p.m. Tuesday in Citizens Hall on 10th Street.

To reach Scott Franz, call 970-871-4210, email scottfranz@SteamboatToday.com or follow him on Twitter @ScottFranz10