Pedestrian traffic concerns police

Busy intersections under surveillance by SSPD

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— Police are stepping up surveillance of busy intersections and roadways in Steamboat Springs to ensure the safety of pedestrians and motorists.

The Steamboat Springs Police Department is concerned about drivers speeding through areas where pedestrians are present.

People behind the wheel and on foot are at risk when they don't pay attention to each other.

"We just don't want anybody to get hurt," Assistant Police Chief Art Fiebing said.

Police are issuing written warnings to motorists who fail to yield to pedestrians. They hope to educate the public before handing out fines, he said.

By law, motorists must yield to pedestrians once they leave the sidewalk, Fiebing said.

"If you fail to yield to pedestrians, it's pretty much a $60 fine," he said. "That will put a little crimp in your pocketbook."

Lincoln Avenue through Old Town, Mount Werner Circle and the intersection of AprÃs Ski Way and Village Drive have been identified as high-risk areas.

Mount Werner Circle boasts five crosswalks between the Steamboat Ski Area and the Steamboat Grand Hotel.

Skiers coming from the ski area don't always use the crosswalks, and drivers don't always slow down, resulting in frequent close calls between vehicles and pedestrians.

"Nobody is without blame here," Fiebing said.

He reminded pedestrians to stick to the crosswalks and not dart out into traffic.

The city and Grand Summit Resort Properties are funding an approximately $368,000 plan to improve Mount Werner Circle.

The proposal calls for narrowing the four-lane road to two main lanes and adding new sidewalks.

"The basic intent of the plan is to reduce travel from two to one through lanes," City Director of Public Works Jim Weber said.

The city and the Grand have until December 2004 to substantially complete the project, he said.

Both parties still have quite a bit to iron out before the final project is solidified, put to bid and completed, he added.

The intersection of AprÃs Ski Way and Village Drive poses a problem because no traffic light or stop sign exists, Fiebing said.

Traffic controls are not practical because the intersection lies at the bottom of the hill where people cannot stop easily on the snow and ice, he said.

Last year, one pedestrian was hit but not hurt when a motorist did not yield the right of way, Fiebing said.

Police want to avoid any similar incidents.

Minimizing future pedestrian and vehicle encounters begins with keeping vehicle speeds in check, Fiebing said.

"Just take your time," he said.

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