Letter: Easing traffic congestion in Steamboat will require radical solutions

It goes without saying that the traffic is terrible in Steamboat. It’s been like that for 50 years since I’ve been in the Yampa Valley.

Many of the newer residences will not know that business owners fought against a bypass because they wanted the traffic. It was their assumptions that by channeling traffic through that, they might stop and buy their products. This was especially critical for them through the summer months when there were almost no tourists. 

They were probably correct, but after trying many summer events, we’ve seen Steamboat now become as busy or busier than winters. What was lost through the decades was the ability to put a reasonable bypass in with economics along with land ownerships.

The traffic is worse than ever and parking is a subject that is fair game. A parking garage? Good. The new city government building on the Main Street taking up possible future retail space is laughable in my opinion, and a large part of the traffic problem.

My point? There might be a way to relieve this traffic that everyone hates.

The answer is probably “no,” but I want to float an idea that I think has merit. With above owned development land being difficult to acquire and the topography with mountains and the Yampa River being obstacles, then what is there to do? 

I wish City Council and county commissioners together would consider a study having Elon Musk’s “boring” company look and possibly make an up or down proposal for digging an underground tunnel. What’s to lose? What’s the cost to entertain a hope or a chance for no 18-wheelers, dump trucks or uninterested motorist who want to bypass a congested city? 

Money is being spent here and there for Steamboat projects that are questionable for some, but it’s like everyone has given up on a radical traffic solution and not some minor street light signage. Jump out of the normal and think out of the box. Just a thought.

Mark Parchman

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