Tommy Larson: Driving problem
Downtown Steamboat Springs does not have a parking problem, it has a driving problem. Adding a parking structure will only address the symptoms of congestion, not the real issue.
Think outside of the box for a moment. What if City Council went the opposite direction and made parking such a hassle (i.e. take out half of the existing spaces) and so expensive ($5-an-hour parking meters and $100 tickets for expired meters) that we began to consider alternatives to driving? Parking meter revenues from visitors (or stubborn locals) could be put toward public transportation, core trail extensions and sidewalk beautification efforts. Don’t worry shop owners, we and the tourists will still spend money downtown, we just won’t drive there.
Do you have friends or family in Denver, San Francisco, Boston, or L.A.? Ask them about their commutes. Accommodating drivers by widening highways and building parking lots has never solved congestion issues; there are always more cars to fill the void.
As gas prices rise and we begin to rethink our driving habits, let’s rally around Steamboat Springs Transit. There is a transportation paradigm shift on the horizon, and Steamboat can prepare for it. If we inconvenience people to the point where driving “just isn’t worth it,” we will all come out winners.
City Council: The right decision is most often the hardest one, and this is one of those instances. Forget the parking structure and steer future discussions toward parking meters and SST funding.
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