Rick Restall prepares to board a shuttle bus to the Meadows Lot from the Gondola Transit Center in Steamboat Springs on Friday afternoon. Renovations to the Transit Center, and a new roundabout planned for Mount Werner Circle, are part of a multi-year redevelopment project at the base of Steamboat Ski Area.

Photo by Brian Ray

Rick Restall prepares to board a shuttle bus to the Meadows Lot from the Gondola Transit Center in Steamboat Springs on Friday afternoon. Renovations to the Transit Center, and a new roundabout planned for Mount Werner Circle, are part of a multi-year redevelopment project at the base of Steamboat Ski Area.

URAAC embraces roundabout for messy intersection

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— Steamboat Springs could take a roundabout approach to redesigning one of the most confusing intersections in the city.

The Urban Renewal Authority Advisory Committee voted Thursday to recommend installing a traffic roundabout at the intersection of Mount Werner Circle and AprÃs Ski Way at the base of the ski area.

"We expect to have a completed construction and design package ready by Jan. 25," planning consultant Beth Gulley said. "It's a pretty fast pace here."

Gulley works for Wenk Associates, which consulted on the improvements to Ski Time Square throughout 2007.

Early next year, the proposal will make its way to City Council, acting as the Urban Renewal Authority.

Gulley said the dimensions of the roundabout have been designed to accommodate all types of vehicles, including semi-trailers. The roundabout also will make it far easier for pedestrians to navigate the tricky intersection, she said.

The intersection currently leads eastbound motorists coming off Mount Werner Circle in a counterclockwise direction onto AprÃs Ski Way, where they must yield to other eastbound motorists making a left-hand turn off Mount Werner Circle. In the middle of those turning motions, westbound cars wait to make either left- or right-hand turns onto the road.

The intersection is just west of the point of a triangle created by the Snowflower Condominium site. Construction on the large One Steamboat Place condominium project is under way on the other side of Snowflower. Cars continuing on Mount Werner Circle pass the intersection just before arriving at the newly redesigned Gondola Transit Center.

Gulley said a narrowing of double traffic lanes leading into the roundabout would calm traffic as vehicles feed into the roundabout. The roundabout itself should allow for more orderly traffic movements, she added.

The roundabout would include a low stone terrace landscaped with aspen and cottonwood trees and yellow rose bushes.

URAAC member Chris Diamond, who is president and chief operating officer of Steamboat Ski & Resort Corp., urged Gulley to include a plan and budget for extending the landscaping north on Mount Werner Circle toward the transit center.

"It's weeds and scrubby junk all summer long," Diamond said. "We need to do something about that."

The project would be funded by revenue from the urban renewal authority, which was created in 2005 to raise money for public improvements around the ski area base. The URA is financed by property tax and sales tax growth within the URA boundaries, which are confined to the ski area base.

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