RFTA

Creative Commons/Flickr/Oregon Dept. of Transportation

Pitkin county staff will explore using rooftops and other government property to install solar panels. County commissioners this week approved a funding request for a feasibility study. 

The county will spend between $15,000 and $25,000 to locate beneficial sites for solar and find out how much electricity could be generated. Right now, the county consumes 1.3 megawatt hours per year and it’s not offset by any significant renewable efforts. County Engineer G.R. Fielding says now is a good time to pursue solar.

Elise Thatcher

A new bus drivers’ union in the area is stretching its wings. Full time drivers with the Roaring Fork Transportation Authority voted in February to start a local chapter of a national transit worker union. Ed Cortez is the President and business agent for the Aspen Local 774 of the Amalgamated Transit Union He sat down with Aspen Public Radio’s Elise Thatcher to talk about where the union is now.

Marci Krivonen

In May, the bike sharing service WE-cycle will reopen for the summer season. The Aspen-based service is seeing success. WE-cycle provides bikes for short-term users at stations around town. The idea is to reduce car trips with the service.

2014 was WE-cycle's second year of operation. The organization saw a 76 percent jump in ridership compared to its inaugural year. Mirte Mallory with WE-cycle says many users live Downvalley, and use the bikes as the final leg of their commute.

rfta.com

Now that funding is in place to renovate the Rubey Park bus depot in downtown Aspen, a public outreach effort is starting. The City will warn people about construction.

The $9.3 million renovation project will modernize Rubey Park and fix things like cracking concrete and cramped bus parking. The construction project will renovate the interior of the existing clock tower building and add two buildings to either side of it. Parking for buses will change too.

Facebook/RFTA

There's few unions in the Roaring Fork Valley-- and now, there's another.Full-time bus drivers with the Roaring Fork Transportation Authority have voted to unionize. Ballots were counted in Denver on Wednesday by the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment. The final count didn’t begin until the mail arrived late at Colorado’s labor agency after 3pm. Heavy snow had delayed the delivery. Driver Ed Cortez was waiting breathlessly, with a representative of the Amalgamated Transit Union.

Roaring Fork Transit Authority

Full time bus drivers with the Roaring Fork Transportation Authority have voted to unionize. Ballots were counted in Denver today by the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment. The agency has confirmed the results. 65 drivers voted for unionization, with 22 against.

Roaring Fork Transit Authority

Full time bus drivers for the Roaring Fork Transportation Authority are voting on whether to unionize. If approved, it would be the first time in more than a decade for drivers to be a part of a union. 

Ed Cortez was selected by other bus drivers to lead the union vote. He’s been a full time driver for two and a half years, and describes what it was like getting behind the wheel. 

“Well, initially I was very nervous, very intimidated. Slowly but surely I realized that I really loved driving.”

A big reason is getting to know riders from all backgrounds-- from regular folks to politicians.

West Slope Back On Drought Index

In the dry month of January, snowpack levels in nearly every river basin in Colorado declined. In the Roaring Fork Valley, not only did the amount of snow diminish but drought conditions returned. 

The U.S. Drought Monitor released Thursday puts the Western Slope in the “abnormally dry” category, including the majority of Eagle and Pitkin Counties and all of Garfield County. “Abnormally dry” is the least severe of five categories.

rfta.com

  The Roaring Fork Transportation Authority will likely consider extending the comment period for its controversial plan. RFTA has gotten a strong reaction to its December draft access plan, including accusations of stealing or limiting access to private property. Aspen Public Radio’s Elise Thatcher has more.

Welcome to Valley Roundup, a review of the top news stories in the valley in the past week.

This week Aspen Public Radio News Director Carolyn Sackariason hosts the show.

There’s a dust up down valley between the bus service and local officials over the Rio Grande Trail.

An elementary school in Carbondale is looking for a new principal after she put in her resignation half-way through the year.

Should Aspen votes be asked to approve every piece of development in the city?

Meanwhile, Mark Hunt goes directly to Aspen citizens about his development plans.

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