Underpass plan under way

Pedestrian promenade part of new design for base area traffic

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In with the new

The Urban Redevelopment Area Advisory Committee elected two new co-chairpersons this week. The change came after the Steamboat Springs City Council chose not to return Jack Ferguson and Bud Romberg to their committee seats. The new co-chairpersons, elected by their peers Friday, are David Baldinger Jr., of Steamboat Village Brokers, and Steve Frasier, of Mountain Resorts.

Also new to the committee are attorney David Nagel, Realtor Jon Wade and Torian Plum business owner Timm Harmon.

Bill Jameson left the committee after a three-year term.

— In the near future, skiers coming off the lower slopes of Mount Werner may be able to cross under AprÃs Ski Way on their way back to their condominiums.

The Urban Redevelopment Area Advisory Committee reviewed a plan Friday to build the underpass as part of the redesign of the intersection of AprÃs Ski Way and Village Drive. The committee is working on public improvements at the base of the ski area, including new traffic roundabouts and a pedestrian promenade running in a horseshoe shape around the lowest ski trails.

AprÃs Ski Way and Village Drive is considered by many to be a dangerous intersection, especially for pedestrians in ski boots. That intersection won't get the roundabout treatment. Instead, Nicole Horst, of Wenk Associates, said the steep grade of AprÃs

Ski Way entering the intersection near Snowflower condominiums will be reduced. That should make it easier for vehicles to slow down on snowy roads.

But current designs also show a pedestrian underpass, 12 feet wide and 8 feet high. It would line up with an existing footpath just up the hill from the intersection, Horst said. The path runs just east of The Dulany condos and the commercial building housing Market on the Mountain and La Montaña restaurant. It leads directly to resort condominiums such as The Phoenix and The Lodge.

In other business, the URAAC group gave its support for a schematic design of the portion of the promenade running between One Steamboat Place and the Sheraton Steamboat Resort. The plan reveals some of the details about how Burgess Creek would be daylighted in summer along the promenade. It currently flows under the ski slopes in a culvert.

Bill Wenk, of Wenk Associates, said he thinks strolling and seating areas along the creek encourage summer visitors to extend their stays. He urged the committee to consider devoting as much of its financial resources to the area surrounding the promenade as is feasible.

"It's important to see how far we can push this," Wenk said. "It has the potential to be a magnet on the mountain."

Wenk envisions the promenade as a linear flower garden with a series of 15 small waterfalls where the terrain naturally drops.

The streamflows in summer won't be entirely natural. A water takeout mechanism upstream from the Slopeside Grill restaurant will allow for excess flows during spring runoff to be routed back underground in the culvert. That way, the flows can be kept at a safe 4 to 6 inches deep for families wading in the creek, Horst said.

The committee enthusiastically endorsed the section of the promenade, which is due to be the first portion to go under construction, project manager Joe Kracum said.

- To reach Tom Ross, call 871-4205

or e-mail tross@steamboatpilot.com

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