January 28, 2011

CDOT awards $960,000 for 80 percent of construction of Pine Junction park-n-Ride

Mike Potter
Staff Writer

Park-n-Ride

The Colorado Department of Transportation awarded the Denver-based Regional Transportation District $960,000, or about 80 percent of the construction cost for a new, permanent park-n-Ride to be built in Pine Junction. It would replace the current park-n-Ride, shown here on Jan. 26. (Photo by Mike Potter/The Flume)

The Colorado Department of Transportation on Jan. 20 approved the awarding of $960,000 to the Denver-based Regional Transportation District to fund a large portion of the costs to build a permanent park-n-Ride facility in Pine Junction.

Bob Wilson, a spokesman for CDOT, said the award, which was approved by CDOT's Transportation Commission, would cover 80 percent of the $1.2 million construction cost.

The $960,000 comes from money raised through Colorado's FASTER vehicle registration fees.

He said the award calls for RTD to cover 20 percent of the construction costs, or about $240,000, and it must show progress of moving forward on the project by the end of 2012.

"The bulldozer may not need to be out there necessarily, but they need to show good faith moving forward," he said.

The permanent park-n-Ride facility would be built on property owned by RTD along Mount Evans Boulevard, next to Hutchison Lumber in Pine Junction.

The current park-n-Ride facility is a dirt lot next to U.S. 285 on land owned by CDOT, and it would be wiped out when U.S. 285 is expanded in Pine Junction.

RTD District N Director Bruce Daly was pleased by the award, saying a permanent facility is something many people have worked toward for many years.

He praised the Riders 285 Coalition, a group of bus riders from Park and Jefferson counties who have fought to retain and expand services at the Pine Junction park-n-ride.

One of the group's goals was to see a permanent park-n-Ride facility built on land owned by RTD in Pine Junction, he said.

"They are RTD riders who have pushed me, and everyone they can get ahold of, to build that park-n-Ride because the current park-n-Ride will be going away," he said.

He said at their insistence, he's kept bringing up the construction to the RTD board.

"I've been lobbying every chance I get," he said. "Down at the board, they call me Mr. Pine Junction."

Daly said the permanent park-n-Ride facility would likely consist of a dirt lot with a concrete turnaround for the bus.

"You're not going to get a very big park-n-Ride for $1.2 million," he said.

Pam Beckhorn, the president of the Riders 285 Coalition, called the announcement "absolutely wonderful news."

"Two words come to mind and they are GRATITUDE and PERSISTENCE," she wrote in an e-mail to The Flume. "Sincerest gratitude for a dedicated and caring group of people who formed the [Riders] 285 Coalition, Park and Jefferson County commissioners, RTD and CDOT."

She said the Riders 285 Coalition was formed to create a positive partnership with Park and Jefferson counties, RTD, and CDOT in order to retain services in Pine Junction and to see that a permanent park-n-Ride facility was built.

She singled out Park County Commissioner John Tighe for working with the group and for offering advice and guidance to the group.

"The persistence of our loyal core team, who never lost sight of the importance of mass transit for the entire 285 corridor, and who, in spite of many challenges over the last three years, never gave up," she said. "This is a great day for our mountain community, and my hat is off to each and every person who stepped up to the plate to make this important park-n-Ride into a permanent reality."

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