Summit County moves full speed ahead in designing new Frisco Transit Center | SummitDaily.com

Summit County moves full speed ahead in designing new Frisco Transit Center

This was the original concept art done when the redesign of the Frisco Transit Center was announced in 2015. The sketch was created by Steve Wilensky, Director of Urban and Transit Planning at RNL Design, and Tom Lyon, Principal at Wolff Lyon Architecture.

Planning for the Frisco Transit Center took a step forward this week when a company was picked to create a design for the new structure.

For the selection process, Summit County staff worked with members of the Colorado Department of Transportation. Both entities settled on Denver-based design firm RNL Design. The firm had previously worked with the county on developing the master plan for the transit center. Brynn Grey Partners LTD., which began developing the Basecamp area in Frisco, also contributed to the initial master plan.

Thad Noll, the assistant county manager, added that RNL also works with local subcontractors, which was another benefit.

Noll said that the design process will likely finish around October of 2017, with construction beginning in the summer of next year.

"The timing of this will be perfect for us because we'll finish the design in the late fall, early winter, and then we'll be able to get that out to contractors early in the season … before they've filled up their calendars and we generally get better pricing that way," Noll said.

Back in the summer of 2015, Summit County officials announced the redesign of the Frisco Transit Center, which was built in 1998. In the nearly 20 years since its construction, local bus ridership has increased and more bus companies added stops at the center. Development around the transit center has also put commercial businesses on either side of it. The county saw the redesign as an opportunity to connect the transit center to those businesses and create a new and more open site for people coming into Frisco.

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"It needs to feel welcoming, and inviting and open and light," Noll said.

On average, the Frisco Transit Center sees about 1,000 Summit Stage passengers daily, said Summit's transit director Jim Andrew. In addition to the Summit Stage buses going through the transit center, Greyhound Lines, CDOT's Bustang and airport shuttles also use the center. Hertz also has a rental car location on the property.

The center will be split into five different phases of construction, with the larger projects going first. This is in part to split the financial burden on the county into manageable packages. After announcing the project in 2015, the county had hoped to begin construction in the summer of 2016. But after developing the master plan, and waiting for funding to be put in place the project was delayed. The county has received $2.5 million in grants from CDOT to help complete the project. The county estimates that altogether the redesign of the Frisco Transit Center will cost around $8.3 million.

"The first three phases is probably the bulk of the project," said Kent Willis, the chair of the Summit Stage advisory board. "We get through phase three, 90 percent of (the project) is going to be completed."

Willis added that without complete plans and full funding in place, there is no estimate on how long it will take to complete all five phases of the transit center. Phase one, the most expensive portion of the project at over $3 million, will add new drive lanes for the buses. Phase two is construction of the transit center and bus shelters. Noll said that it will depend on the final design, but that the original building will likely be taken down. The design of the current building poses some difficulties for passengers waiting for the bus.

"If you're waiting for a bus you literally can't be inside the building and see your bus coming, it's so closed in," Andrew said.

He added that the new building will be bigger, adding approximately 1,000 square feet. The larger size will make things more comfortable for current users, and brings in the possibility of adding in new tenants.

The third phase of the new center will focus on the parking lot. The last two phases are final details and making sure that the transit center integrates well with the surrounding shopping areas. Andrew said that the new center will also be more pedestrian-friendly.

"It's just going to be a much more inviting and pleasant experience," Andrew said.