Rabbit Ears safety advocate calling for more suggestions

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— What kind of sign would make you slow down on Rabbit Ears Pass? Or maybe you've got another suggestion to stop dangerous wrecks on the highway that links Steamboat Springs with the Front Range.

Steamboat Springs resident Nancy MacFarland was one of four people killed on Rabbit Ears in 1999. Her husband, Scott, has initiated a task force of sorts to address safety concerns on the pass in an effort to prevent injury accidents in the future.

MacFarland held three meetings this spring to hear suggestions from other residents about ways to improve safety on the road. He planned to compile those ideas and approach the Colorado Department of Transportation last month, but due to more response than he expected, MacFarland has extended the comment period to June 28.

"We've generated some good ideas so far, especially from people from other parts of the country who have seen other ways to deal with high fatality locations," MacFarland said.

MacFarland supports signage to warn motorists of the dangers on Rabbit Ears Pass, but he said he is receptive to other ideas, such as increased patrolling or a speed limit reduction. Speed is the biggest factor in wrecks on the pass, according to the troopers who patrol its curves.

Steamboat resident Mike Ruzica's friend, Liz Closter, was killed on the pass in December.

"Signage seems to be the easiest to start with and the most feasible," Ruzica said. "It seems to be the best way to get something done up there."

Supporters of a sign to warn motorists of the dangers on Rabbit Ears Pass said suggestions should include specific wording and locations.

Next month, MacFarland plans to assemble the information sent to him and schedule a meeting with CDOT's safety engineer.

To reach Michelle Bales call 871-4208 or e-mail mbales@amigo.net

Got an idea?

Residents with suggestions to improve the safety on Rabbit Ears Pass can e-mail comments to macfarla@ticus.com or call 879-2561 extension 3148.

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