Dustin Stratton: Can’t please all
June 22, 2008
Steamboat Springs — Dear Steamboat,
Stop trying to be too many things to too many people. You can’t please everyone. It’s a lesson most individuals learn at a relatively young age.
Specifically, in this case, I refer to the idea that Lincoln Avenue should be bicycle, pedestrian and vehicle friendly. Not without some work, to say the least. After driving down our main street countless times at the peak of winter, I can’t help but think, “What the heck?” The road often is diminished from a relatively tight five lanes to maybe three.
Let’s examine each part of the equation, starting with bicycles. This definitely will stir controversy, but between Third and 11th streets there are three alternatives to U.S. Highway 40. There is the alley that can be taken until at least Fifth Street. Then there is Oak Street, and, finally, the multimillion-dollar bike path. This does not even account for Pine Street, which runs all the way to Ninth, or that once a bicyclist reaches Fifth Street they can use Yampa Avenue.
Even I tend to avoid the bike path. Too many pedestrians, too many dogs, etc. Yet, I try even harder to stay away from Lincoln. If things remain as they are now, I would propose a city ordinance stating there should be no bicycle traffic on this major thoroughfare between Third and 11th streets. Otherwise, parking on that street should be limited to one side.
The second component is pedestrians. I don’t really understand why we need wider sidewalks. They would be fine if we did not have a tree or a streetlight every five feet. However, if we choose this option, the town still would need to eradicate some parking.
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This brings us to vehicles. If parking is not completely eliminated on “Main Street,” there should at least be a major overhaul. Spaces should be reserved for small cars.
In reality, it being a federal highway, vehicles should take priority on Lincoln – not that I don’t think there is a solution. First, a second Park and Ride should be built on the east side of town, for example next to the Fairfield Inn. Next, all spaces on U.S. 40 in downtown should be paid. The price should be a premium. This money will pay for the Park and Ride and eventually a parking garage.
Once that is built, reduce availability on Lincoln to one direction. This means, for example, having spaces only on the north side of the street between Third and Sixth streets, then only on the south side between Sixth and 12th streets. Parking still will be charged, adding fees for spots on side streets. This eventually will pay for a second garage. Then, parking on our main drag can be eliminated entirely.