BEHIND THE HEADLINES

Traffic reflow likely good

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Q. Why is vehicle and pedestrian movement through Mount Werner Circle so important to businesses on the mountain, especially those in the Ski Time Square area?

A. In order to "revitalize" the mountain base area, there must be a convenient roadway that connects all the lodging to all of the shops and restaurants there. Just as Lincoln Ave serves all the merchants downtown, Mount Werner, must serve all the mountain merchants. These days, for any ski village to remain healthy and successful, there must be a certain amount of traffic generated within all of the connected parts of a quaint, captivating village. It requires a certain ambience. Otherwise, the entire community begins to suffer economically, and those merchants who do not see customers begin to cut back on service,or simply go out of business. The Ski Time Square/Torian area needs to attract more pedestrian traffic and public transportation. The revenues in that area seem to be suffering the most, probably due to their distance from the transit center. These are fine merchants and restaurants that simply need more customer traffic. Mount Werner Circle is the key to this. An enchanting retail corridor must connect along the mountain edge with a spruced-up and highlighted Gondola Square.

Q. Do you agree with the city's plan to make part of Mount Werner Circle from a four-lane road into a three lane road? Why or why not?

A. I believe the city's plan for three lanes will work with the current amount of traffic on Mount Werner. It was very wise for the city to keep the right of way, so Mount Werner could add a lane in the future. If we look at the 10-year buildout numbers at the mountain base, that could really come in handy. Ten years ago, who would have thought Lincoln Avenue could become as busy as it is now, during the summer.

Q. Why did you hire your own consultant to check the city's consultant's results?

A. The Mountain Business Association members all wanted to see a "revitalization" begin at the mountain base. The board hired retail consultants from Denver who had done a lot of work for retailers in Aspen, and Snowmass, as well as Colorado Springs, and many others. I believe the City Council appreciated their input, and information, in making important decisions for the future of Steamboat.

Q. Do you think the Mountain Business Association had ample opportunity to comment on the proposed changes? Why or why not?

A. Yes. Thanks to the City Council members, who really showed empathy for some of the struggling small businesses and the community at large. Kathy Connell was really concerned and knowledgeable because she works at the mountain base and knows the issues from everyday experience. All council members encouraged the MBA to keep participating in the process.

Q. Will the proposed changes hurt or help businesses on the mountain?

A. We won't know until we see how the pedestrian and vehicular traffic is affected. I know all of us at the Mountain Village hope the City Council will help us begin a wise and well-planned revitalization. One that makes us all proud, once again of this beautiful and unique gem named Mount Werner.

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