Downtown Steamboat stroll celebrates bus shelters Friday |

Downtown Steamboat stroll celebrates bus shelters Friday

Mike Lawrence

— When creating the brass and aluminum signs that adorn the new bus shelters in downtown Steamboat Springs, David Marshall thought about bringing some warmth to austere structures in a cold location.

"I thought it'd be a nice contrast … to put a little bit of silver and gold into it," Marshall said about the signs, which feature street names and a different theme at each shelter along Lincoln Avenue. "I think they added a little bit of personality. … It cheered them up a little bit."

Love 'em or debate 'em, the nine steel-and-glass transit shelters are now distinctive downtown fixtures. Installation is complete, but the shelters could soon see additional features — plans are under way to add informational signs to the inside of each shelter, describing the historical theme of each.

The shelter on the south side of Lincoln Avenue near 11th Street, for example, is a tribute to the area's native Utte tribe. On the south side of Lincoln near Seventh Street is a shelter honoring Howelsen Hill. Other shelters acknowledge Steamboat Springs' rodeos, mineral springs, Ski Town USA moniker and more.

Tracy Barnett, of Mainstreet Steam­boat Springs said the shelters eventually could be part of a walking tour, where visitors could call a phone number and listen to a brief recorded narrative of the history featured by a particular shelter.

"We have no idea how we're going to pull that off, but that's the plan," Barnett said. "Our concern would be the ongoing cost."

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Ideas such as those, along with a celebration of the shelters' installation, are the subject of an event beginning at 4 p.m. Friday at the Artists' Gallery of Steamboat. Marshall and others involved in the creation of the shelters will be on hand. From the gallery, Barnett said, the event will move along Lincoln Avenue to visit as many of the shelters as temperatures allow. All are welcome to the free event.

The nine shelters are installed on both sides of Lincoln Avenue near intersections with downtown's odd-numbered streets, plus a sign in front of Riggio's Ristorante near 11th Street, where a shelter wouldn't fit.

City Public Works Director Philo Shelton said the final cost of the project was $306,000, slightly above the initial budget of $300,000. Shelton said federal grant funding paid $240,000 of that cost, with the rest coming from the city.

Vertical Arts project designer Katy Vaughn has said the shelters are intended to reflect Northwest Colorado's historical architecture and materials found on old barns, bridges and railroad tracks. A Mainstreet design committee provided input into the project.

"There was a lot of discussion of whether the shelters themselves would be more historic and Victorian rather than this contemporary look," committee member Susan Corser said.

She said she initially favored a more Victorian style, but has had a change of heart.

"I'm fairly happy with them. I think they blend in pretty well," she said. "And it's a huge impro­vement from a standard, off-the-shelf product from a catalog."

Shelton and Barnett acknowledged some complaints about wind exposure from the shelters' open fronts, which also don't block water sprayed by passing vehicles.

Shelton said to meet Americans with Disabilities Act requirements for access while staying within space constraints tightened by wider bus stops, open-fronted shelters became a necessity.

— To reach Mike Lawrence, call 970-871-4233 or e-mail

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