Steamboat Springs City Council President: The Yampa Valley — take it slow and embrace the place |

Steamboat Springs City Council President: The Yampa Valley — take it slow and embrace the place

Robin Crossan
Steamboat Springs City Council President

Please, please, please — SLOW DOWN! We tell our kids to slow down when they run too fast, bike too fast or drive too fast, but what about us? Do we ever take our own advice and slow down? It seems like we are doing just the opposite.

This past week, a car did not stop at the stop sign at Seventh and Oak streets, turning right, and almost hit a pedestrian walking in the crosswalk. Looks like they were trying to beat the car at the opposite stop sign.

Then, half a block farther down Sixth Street, a truck cut right in front of traffic to quickly get into their driveway. I can only hope it was an emergency at the house because there was almost a collision. So, what’s going on? Why are we all in such a hurry?

The kids in our community see how we “adults” behave, and they learn from our positive behavior along with our bad habits. What do we want to teach them? Why are we in such a hurry? An extra 10 to 20 seconds? To what end? Possibly an accident?

This only leads me to wonder “what is happening to us?” Many are saying Steamboat Springs isn’t the way it was when they moved here (3, 5, 20 or 40 years ago). Well, change is inevitable, but how do we, the members of the community, keep Steamboat, Steamboat?

I offer a few suggestions to help us all be the community we have fallen in love with.

  • Acknowledge Those Around You. Let’s start smiling again. Make eye contact and say hi to the people you walk by on the Yampa River Core Trail, downtown, at the supermarket, etc. It seems more and more people are looking down when I walk past them. By acknowledging each other, you might put a smile on someone’s face and hopefully they will return the kindness.
  • Do Something Nice For Your Neighbor. If you don’t know their names, go over and introduce yourself. Better yet, help your neighborhood come together for a summer or fall block party. Knowing if someone just had surgery and needs support, or kids that might be home alone in the afternoon could be helpful. Also knowing who is where, could help if you live in a fire zone and would need to be evacuated from your street, if only for a short time. 
  • Obey Traffic Signs and Signals. Stop at stop signs and do not go through the red light at Third and Lincoln (or anywhere else). Maybe that 30 seconds you sit will allow you to wave to the other person to go first, help you think through your day, talk to someone in the car with you or just take a few deep breaths and count our blessings because we get to live in this beautiful valley.
  • And, by the way, when you don’t agree with someone — it is OK to not agree — it is NOT okay to ignore the person. We can always find compassion and common ground even if it’s comparing restaurants, powder snow stories, etc.

As we go through all these iterations, it is important to remember deep down someone came here before us, someone let “us in” and welcomed us.  

I recall one such story involving Hazie Werner, the grand lady of the valley. A gentleman was complaining about more and more people coming to the valley. He didn’t know why we didn’t lock the gate on Rabbit Ears Pass to keep everyone else out. After politely listening to his rant and in her special way of cutting to the core, Hazie simply said: “Well, we let you in didn’t we.”

Her point was that the valley is for everyone and that someone has welcomed all of us. If you are a newer member of the community, please remember all the great reasons that compelled you to move here.

I urge you to also learn who the Steamboat Springs community is. This town is unique and funky, and squirrely and different. Please don’t think we need to change Steamboat Springs to be like where you’re from. We all left that place to come to the Yampa Valley because of what makes it special. We must always embrace the place, its essence and spirit.

The community has opened its arms to all. Please be respectful of that and learn the history and find how we can all fit in together because it’s not you versus us or us versus you.

And, remember, slow down!

Robin Crossan
City of Steamboat Springs/Courtesy photo

Robin Crossan is president of the Steamboat Springs City Council.

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