New bike counter finds an average of 700 cyclists cruise down Yampa Street daily |

New bike counter finds an average of 700 cyclists cruise down Yampa Street daily

Guilhem Malichier

— City officials here already knew Yampa Street was a popular place to ride a bike, but they were surprised to find out this summer exactly how popular.

The Colorado Department of Transportation’s new bike counter on Yampa detected an average of 707 cyclists each day from June 21 to July 9.

The peak ridership came on the Fourth of July holiday, when 1,285 cyclists were detected.

Ridership never dipped below 400 riders in a given day.

"That’s a lot of use on that street," said Betsy Jacobsen, the unit manager for CDOT’s Bicycle, Pedestrians and Byways Unit.

Jacobsen and a CDOT crew installed the counter on the south end of the street last month.

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It uses an inductive loop system that can differentiate between cars, bicycles and pedestrians.

Jacobsen said it’s hard to compare the ridership on Yampa to other cities, but the numbers detected in a city the size of Steamboat were deemed to be high.

The data will aid city officials as they continue to make traffic decisions on the street.

It also can bolster applications for grant funding and road improvements.

Public Works Director Chuck Anderson said Friday that the first batch of data validates the city’s recent decision to lower the speed limit on the road to 15 miles per hour and plan for new reverse style parking spaces.

"Having some hard data will help us plan for the future concurrent movements of people and vehicles," he said.

From Yampa, cyclists can access two of the most popular road rides in the Yampa Valley on River Road and on Twentymile Road.

Jacobsen said the data showed most of the cyclists detected on Yampa were recreational, with 56 percent of them heading into downtown, and 44 percent heading away.

There was some commuter traffic measured in the early afternoon and later in the evening from 6 to 8 p.m.

Fridays saw the most bike traffic, and peak ridership during the weekends was measured at about 10 a.m.

To reach Scott Franz, call 970-871-4210 or email

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