Edwards eyes buses, transit hub | VailDaily.com

Edwards eyes buses, transit hub

Matt Terrell
Vail CO, Colorado
Kristin Anderson/Vail DailyMiller Ranch resident Brian Cardoza waits to board an ECO Transit bus as it pulls in to pick him up in Miller Ranch.

EDWARDS ” Jason Carraro doesn’t have to set his alarm in the mornings ” the bus wakes him up.

He’s one of several Miller Ranch residents who are tired of noxious fumes, grumbling diesel engines and rattling windows. It all comes from the ECO Transit buses that drive in from Miller Ranch Road and turn around in the subdivision.

It’s just one part of the Edwards bus line that residents and leaders want to see improved. In the long line of ECO bus stops from Gypsum to Vail ” Edwards is the missing link, officials say.

There are places to board and get off, sure, but there’s no transit hub ” a big connector in the middle of the bustling and increasingly popular core of town.

County planners are hoping to find a place in the nearly built-to-the-brim community where buses can turn around, drop people off where the fun is and easily get back to I-70.

“After Avon, the next hub isn’t until you reach Eagle,” said ECO Transit director Harry Taylor.

To really make a transit hub work though, Edwards needs to develop its own bus system, one that can reach all the nooks of town, bring them to the hub and reduce the number of stops for the ECO line, Taylor said.

It’s already an idea the Edwards metro district is exploring, but no solid plans have been developed, said Ken Marchetti, the metro district administrator. He wants to work with the county and study who would actually use a town bus and how many stops to have.

“Do we have just a small system in the core Edwards area? Or does it go into Homestead and Singletree?” Marchetti said. “I do think we all agree on the need for a hub.”

For a time, ECO Transit wanted to see a transit hub at the corner of the new Battle Mountain High School being built in Edwards. But, there’s not enough space on the land, and the school district isn’t planning on more than a sheltered stop with a bus pullout lane.

Transit planner David Johnson said a possible place for a hub would be at a truck rest area between I-70 and the Riverwalk shopping center, an area owned by the Colorado Department of Transportation. A location like that would also be able to accommodate the county’s plans to someday have a passenger rail train running through the valley.

Also adding to future Edwards traffic will be the new elementary school and the replacement for Red Canyon High School, both being built on Miller Ranch Road near Berry Creek Middle School.

“When you look at Gypsum and the number of students that do ride the ECO buses to and from school, we would anticipate more traffic there,” Taylor said.

Home owners in Miller Ranch are hoping that any change with the bus system will somehow involve keeping the diesels away from their houses.

“It’s a great inconvenience for the homeowners near the bus stop,” said Bill Landsowne, a Miller Ranch home owner. “The noise, especially on the weekend and late at night, is a big impact.”

But for now, those buses don’t have a better place to go, officials say.

“I understand there are some homeowners that say they cause noise and vibration, but to remove the bus stop from the heart of high density local housing, to me is not a benefit,” Johnson said.

If the stop were moved to the road, it would require building a pull off and a waiting area so traffic wouldn’t back up, Johnson said.

Staff writer Matt Terrell can be reached at 748-2955 or mterrell@vaildaily.com.

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