Our View: Keep calm and carry on
Summers in Colorado are gorgeous, with longer days and endless options for outdoor recreation, but these busy months also come with increased roadwork that is packed into a short construction season. This is nothing new, but the closure of Interstate 70 between Dotsero and Glenwood Springs, which rerouted traffic north along U.S. Highway 40 through Steamboat Springs, added greatly to regular traffic woes.
That situation combined with the regular chip and seal work along U.S. Highway 40, a stop light project on the west side of town and an increase in tourism due to pent-up demand after a pandemic year have intensified the traffic snarl, and some drivers seem to be reaching a breaking point. Local Facebook groups are full of rants about the traffic situation, and many people are losing their cool — honking aggressively, passing on the right, flipping off flaggers, driving too fast and refusing to follow simple traffic guidelines like the zipper merge.
We understand it’s easy to feel frustrated when it takes 30 minutes to get through town, but there’s not much any of us can do to change the circumstances so instead we suggest an attitude adjustment. Instead of complaining about the situation, it’s important to understand the reason why all these projects are happening at the same time and appreciate the fact that the work is being done now to ensure the integrity and condition of our roads heading into another long winter. And if the projects had been stopped, it’s unlikely the work would have resumed this year, leaving necessary road repairs and improvements to wait until next summer.
And because it’s summertime, everyone needs to be cognizant that there are more cyclists on the road. We’d be remiss if we didn’t remind people about “Share the Road” rules, especially since traffic has increased on some of our “shortcut” roads like River Road.
Bike riders should always ride single file with traffic, follow lane markings and use hand signals to indicate when you’re turning. And during high traffic times, we’d suggest that cyclists choose a different road to ride. Motorists should drive slowly, stay off their cellphones and be on the lookout for cyclists in their side and rearview mirrors. Drivers should also allow at least 3 feet between their vehicle and a cyclist and wait until there is plenty of room to safely pass. And everyone needs to remember that in Colorado, motorists and cyclists have equal rights and responsibilities to obey all traffic laws.
Participate in The Longevity Project
The Longevity Project is an annual campaign to help educate readers about what it takes to live a long, fulfilling life in our valley. This year Kevin shares his story of hope and celebration of life with his presentation Cracked, Not Broken as we explore the critical and relevant topic of mental health.
At issue: It’s been a busy traffic season in Steamboat Springs, and people are losing their cool.
Our View: Roadwork in the summer is inevitable so we encourage people to plan ahead, slow down and relax.
• Logan Molen, publisher
• Lisa Schlichtman, editor
• Marion Kahn, community representative
• Laraine Martin, community representative
Contact the Editorial Board at 970-871-4221 or lschlichtman@SteamboatPilot.com
Another way to reduce the potential for road rage is to plan ahead and schedule your trips across town during lower traffic times like early morning or evening hours. With schools opening next week, we should expect more cars on the road during those crucial before-school and after-school windows. If you don’t have a student in the house, try getting to work a little earlier in the mornings to avoid the school rush, or better yet, commute to work on your bike or take the free bus if that’s an option.
And count your blessings. For now, Glenwood Canyon is open, and traffic has leveled off. And when things get congested again, as they probably will in the final weeks of summer, take a deep breath, slow down, turn up the music, look at the beautiful scenery that surrounds you and find gratitude in the fact you’re stuck in traffic in a place like Steamboat.
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On Tuesday, Peak Health Alliance, a nonprofit, locally-led insurance purchasing alliance, gave a presentation to the Routt County commissioners. We attended the meeting (remotely), and this is what we learned: