September 15, 2023 |
Photo – Chris Vogelsang addresses residents of Saratoga – by Matt Copeland Bigfoot99
A smattering of residents gathered at the Platte Valley Community Center Wednesday evening to learn about the ongoing Saratoga Transportation Alternatives Master Plan.
Last October, Saratoga Planning and Zoning Commission Chairwoman McCall Burau secured a $200,000 grant from the Wyoming Department of Transportation. The grant is being used to fund a comprehensive study of Saratoga’s existing walkways and develop a plan for the construction and maintenance of additional walking and bicycle paths.
OV Consulting, from Denver, Colorado, was chosen to create the Saratoga Transportation Alternatives Master Plan, or STAMP for short. On Wednesday night, OV Consulting owner Chris Vogelsang hosted the first public input meeting for the project in the Platte Valley Community Center. Speaking to a group of around 20 attendees, Vogelsang said he wants to ensure the transportation master plan meets the needs of Saratoga residents.
Vogelsang began his presentation by explaining the purpose behind the transportation master plan study. Vogelsang said the project is designed to determine where improvements to resident’s safety and mobility can be made.
Vogelsang said the plan will work out where potential investments in the town’s walkways should be made. The OV Consulting owner said the transportation master plan will determine how the town will pay to build and maintain any improvements. Vogelsang said he doesn’t want to saddle the town with a financial millstone.
Vogelsang said the objective of the transportation master plan is to have a clearly defined set of goals for the improvements the community wants to see. The OV Consulting owner said he plans to build on the requests found in the 2016 Comprehensive Master Plan for Saratoga.
Vogelsang said he began the project by driving around town and looking at the existing pathways and sidewalks. The current step, Vogelsang said is meeting with town officials and residents. The OV Consulting owner said he’ll use the information gathered during the meetings to develop a plan for the improvements wanted in town. Afterwards, Vogelsang said he will present his plans to town officials and residents again.
Vogelsang said he’ll use the feedback from the second round of meetings to determine which ideas are most wanted. The OV Consulting owner said the next step is to turn the ideas into a full-fledged plan.
The final step in the Saratoga Transportation Alternatives Master Plan is to hold one last round of meetings with the nearly finished plans to ensure everyone agrees on how to proceed.
With a consensus from the town officials and residents, Vogelsang said a finalized transportation master plan will be created. The town can then refer to the plan to determine which projects should be pursued and where the funding for the projects will come from.
Vogelsang opened the floor to questions. One Saratoga resident asked if adding and improving walkways will change the character of Saratoga, making it more like Jackson or towns in Colorado. Vogelsang said the goal of the transportation master plan is not to alter the nature of the town.
Other attendees expressed their desire for easier accessibility for the elderly, an idea Vogelsang said is fundamental to the transportation master plan.
The next Saratoga Transportation Alternatives Master Plan public meeting will be some time in November.