The Frisco Transit Center has become a regional transportation hub, and a much-needed overhaul is coming soon | SummitDaily.com

The Frisco Transit Center has become a regional transportation hub, and a much-needed overhaul is coming soon

It's been two decades since the opening of the Frisco Transit Center, which at the time served primarily as a place for Summit Stage passengers to switch buses.

Since then, the small space has become a regional transportation hub, servicing an array of transit services including private shuttles, rental cars, Greyhound buses and the Colorado Department of Transportation's Bustang line.

On a typical day, about 1,000 passengers from Summit Stage alone pass through the FTC, a number that could grow with a coming re-configuration of routes likely to include a direct Frisco-to-Dillon line.

Ridership on Bustang, which has a western route running from Glenwood Springs to Denver through Frisco, has been growing steadily since its inception two years ago, and CDOT has plans to expand service.

And Colorado Mountain Express, one of four private shuttle services that use the FTC, has told officials that it plans to soon complement its fleet of vans with 55-passenger vehicles, meaning buses would have even more competition for loading space.

Major development has also sprung up around the station, including the Basecamp Center directly behind the FTC, which is currently being finished out with a "transit-oriented" condominium complex.

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Simply put, the space needs an upgrade. Now, the county government's $8.3 million-dollar plan to overhaul the site is taking shape after several years of planning, and shovels could hit the ground by summer.

The austere bus station currently on the site will be replaced with a building that's roughly 50 percent larger and designed with future upgrades in mind.

"The big difference is this will be a very comfortable space to wait in versus what we have right now," said Summit County Commissioner Thomas Davidson, who was pleased with the latest design presented to the Board of County Commissioners. "I love the look of this way better than what we started with."

The county's architects spruced up the design significantly after the Frisco Planning Commission requested a little more flair during a sketch plan review in November. That reflects the balancing act officials are trying to strike in transforming the dusty way-station into a modern transit hub without breaking the bank.

"My focus is in using materials that are aesthetically pleasing but are low-maintenance and durable," Summit County public works director Tom Gosiorowski said. "The building we have right now is very durable in a prison sort of way — and we don't want to have that — but we still don't want something that becomes a big money drain to maintain and keep looking nice over the years."

At around 3,500 square feet, the new building will be larger than the current one and include more amenities, including information and ticketing counters, a security office and a 24-hour bathroom.

Outside, there will be a fire-pit plaza waiting area and a landscaped courtyard for the summer months.

The addition of a new shuttle lot and a reconfiguration of the lanes through the center, meanwhile, are intended to clean up the organized mayhem of having a half-dozen different transit services pick up and drop off passengers in the same small area.

"One of the key ideas we're working on with the entire re-design of this site is to separate modes of travel both for safety and efficiency," said Rhonda Bell, one of the project designers.

The new center will add three bus bays for a total of eight and configure them in sawtooth arrangement, solving the current problem of buses blocking each other in. All private shuttle loading and unloading will move to a separate lot.

Parking spaces, which currently only reach capacity several times a year, will remain about the same, but 30 spaces are expected to be reserved for overnight paid parking.

The design on the center is currently 35 percent complete and is expected to be finished by early May.

If the Frisco Planning Commission approves the design, construction could begin this summer, and would likely proceed in phases over the course of several years.