- Associated Press - Friday, December 26, 2014

GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colo. (AP) - With ridership booming, a western Colorado public transit system is looking for ways to relieve a parking shortage at some bus stops.

The Glenwood Springs Post Independent reported Thursday (http://tinyurl.com/kw5jcwe) that the Roaring Fork Transportation Authority’s lots in Glenwood Springs and Carbondale are often full.

The agency provides bus service between Rifle and Aspen, serving Glenwood Springs, ski resorts and other communities in between. Ridership is up more than 20 percent through the first 10 months this year, with 4.1 million passengers.

An expansion of the Carbondale parking lot could be finished in 2015. The agency bought land adjacent to the existing lot and drew up plans for a 70-car addition, but the project had to be postponed when bids for another parking lot in New Castle, another town served by RFTA, came in at twice the $500,000 budgeted.

RFTA Chief Executive Officer Dan Blankenship said the agency hopes both projects can be completed within a year.

A solution for Glenwood Springs has been more difficult to find. Property adjacent to the existing lot is larger than needed and has an easement on it that makes development more challenging.

Blankenship said the agency has been discussing with Wal-Mart officials about using 40 spaces in a nearby store’s lot, but no deal has been reached.

RFTA hopes to encourage more people to walk or bicycle to bus stops. Another possibility is a feeder bus system to deliver riders to the intercity bus stops, but Blankenship said the agency doesn’t have the money to do that.

RFTA will probably need a combination of solutions, including bigger parking lots to handle increasing ridership, Blankenship said.

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Information from: Post Independent, http://www.postindependent.com/

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