Crowded roads ahead

Transit official warns of busy summer for Steamboat drivers

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— Drivers in Steamboat Springs could soon get a ticket if they don't yield to Steamboat Springs Transit buses.

The Steamboat Springs City Council agreed Tuesday night to consider implementing a "Yield to Bus" law, which would require vehicles to allow city buses to re-enter traffic at bus stops. The issue arose during a sobering presentation by city transportation director George Krawzoff, who warned that Steamboat faces significantly increasing traffic demands - and costs - in both the short- and long-term future. Heavy construction in Steamboat Springs this summer is expected to fill downtown parking spots, and growth in areas west of downtown will drastically increase traffic along Lincoln Avenue, which Krawzoff said is already operating at its capacity.

"Status quo (transit) services will not be adequate much longer," Krawzoff told the City Council.

An increasing number of vehicles on Lincoln is already making it difficult for buses to re-enter traffic, Krawzoff said, which escalates the time it takes bus drivers to complete a route, and could cause the city to purchase additional buses to maintain service levels. Krawzoff said a yield law would ultimately be a cost-saving measure for the city.

Also Tuesday night, the City Council met with the Yampa Valley Housing Authority to continue an ongoing discussion about the roles of each entity in developing local affordable housing. The groups agreed the City Council should be primarily responsible for establishing regulatory housing policies, which the Housing Authority would then implement; to meet at least twice annually in the future; and to use at least some of the revenues generated by the city's inclusionary zoning ordinance to fund Housing Authority projects.

But the City Council will not adopt its revised inclusionary zoning ordinance until at least next week, meaning much of Tuesday's discussion was more about theory than practice.

"A lot of this is uncharted ground," Councilman Loui Antonucci said.

Finally, the City Council voted, 4-3, in favor of the first reading of an ordinance that would place a temporary ban, or moratorium, on permits for vacation home rentals containing four bedrooms or more. Vacation home rentals are homes in residential neighborhoods that are rented to short-term vacationers and sometimes used for private functions.

Council members Susan Dellinger, Paul Strong and Antonucci voted against the ban, which the council could enact after final approval at a second reading of the ordinance.

The second reading is scheduled for Friday, April 20, at 7 a.m. at Centennial Hall.

Comments

Richard Levy 7 years, 5 months ago

I' a big fan and user of Steamboat Springs Transit.

More bus ridership means less pollution, more parking spots for those that have to drive and less congestion on our already packed streets.

Other than a "yield to bus" ordinance, the city should try enforcing exisiting ordinances. Not many a day goes by without seeing someone parked in a designated bus stop. These vehicles should be ticketed and towed immediately. This is a safety issue for riders and an inconvenience and time issue for SST drivers and riders.

All bus stops are properly signed (though some of the yellow curb paint is gone). There is no excuse except laziness for vehicles parked in bus stops

A single call from a SST driver should be enough to initiate an immediate citation

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steamvent 7 years, 5 months ago

Public transit is fine, but I have been nearly run over by transit drivers who turn on their signal while pulling out, figuring they own the traffic lane. Busses should have no more right to pull into a lane of traffic than anyone else ... just follow the current law. Sure, people should exercise caution and courtesy when approaching a bus that is stopped at a bus stop, anticipating that the bus may want to pull out soon, but if we all stopped to wait for that decision, you'd really see traffic problems. A bus driver can call in a traffic or parking violation just like anyone else, but it should hold no more power to "initiate an immediate citation" than any other call. City Council needs to address the bigger picture ... like parking for downtown, facilitating West of Steamboat, project budget control and other pressing issues. If they want to look out for the public good from a traffic perspective, give the police a mandate to put a stop to red light running, which is NOT currently enforced.

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Troutscout 7 years, 5 months ago

What's the big hurry for bus riders? The price we all have to pay for having a hugh influx of summer tourists to keep our downtown businesses in the black is that we all have to slow down, including the buses. If you want to improve traffic flow downtown be more creative in your legislation. Limit parking to one side, build a parking structure, establish one way streets like Craig. Ticket the jay-walkers! Lose Triple Crown over population of main street traffic. Do we want locals ticketed because the bus schedule is more important than the rise in insurance premiums that result in traffic tickets? I say no. I have to wait a long time to enter traffic like everyone else. I'd like special privledges too. My time is no more or less important than any other vehicle/person on the road. I say to the bus passengers, wait your turn, slow down, enjoy the scenery, someone else is driving you, relax, read the paper, window shop from the seated comfort of a nice bus. Everyone should know that traffic may cause delays, so you have to wait a few minutes longer than the published schedule, plan ahead and leave home a little earlier.

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corduroy 7 years, 5 months ago

what about all those shuttle drivers who stop without warning in the middle of the street, or double park along lincoln to let people off or pick people up.. They should either be allowed to use the bus stops like the transit busses or drop passengers off and pick them up in a parking lot such as the one on 8th and Oak. I've almost hit these jerks several times because somehow they think they are more important than everyone else trying to get from point A to point B.

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d2 7 years, 5 months ago

What makes Mr. Krazoff think that the busses don't already pull out from the bus stops whenever they want to now? How about the speed limit infractions, using 2 lanes through downtown, not pulling out of the traffic lanes at bus stops? Everyone who drives here sees all of these things on a daily basis. Perhaps ALL of the traffic would move a little more smoothly if the busses were to follow the same traffic laws as everyone else does.

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reallocal 7 years, 5 months ago

The buses actually stop at the stops? Funny, when I'm waiting they usually just drive right on by...

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jeannie berger 7 years, 5 months ago

Why don't the buses use Yampa Ave going east and Oak Street going west during this busy summer construction season. Most of use that don't use the bus ( I bike as much as possible during the nicer weather) have to walk a block or so after parking anywhere in town anyway. The difference to Lincoln ave might be tremendous, more parking places freed up by not having the bus stops on main street. If it works keep it going through the winter as well.

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fish 7 years, 5 months ago

So, am I reading this article right, the bus can just pull out and traffic must yeild to them. So if the bus pulls out right in front of a driver, not allowing them time to stop, they would be the ones ticketed. Wow, Steamboat City Council pull your heads out of your butts. I know that from now on I will only drive in the left lane and leave the other lane to the busses. No wait a minute, I will just not shop in Steamboat. To work and home again thats all. Craig or Grand Junction or even Silverthorne will probably think that my money is just as green as someone from New York or Texas.

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Troutscout 7 years, 5 months ago

dreamriver23,

Yor suggestion on having buses on Oak and Yampa streets is excellent. Run for Council, you have my vote!

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bcpow 7 years, 5 months ago

Or come out to SBII, charge me .50 and I won't drive into town. I can bring my cruiser and take care of business. I would ride the whole way, but hwy 40 can be a little scary with 65 mph semis rolling by.

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commonsense1776 7 years, 5 months ago

What so the busses are allowed to take up 1.5 lanes and now this? Can these drivers really drive? I am all for the SST; it has been great for our community and for downtown businesses. Making out town greener and bringing tourist to downtown shops are nothing but great things. But my question is, why are these two laws needed in Steamboat when they are not in Denver?

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commonsense1776 7 years, 5 months ago

What so the buses are allowed to take up 1.5 lanes and now this? Can these drivers really drive? I am all for the SST; it has been great for our community and for downtown businesses. Making out town greener and bringing tourist to downtown shops are nothing but great things. But my question is, why are these two laws needed in Steamboat when they are not in Denver?

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ihatestupidpeople 7 years, 5 months ago

because of all the dumb people that open there cars doors with out looking when you have a 9 ft wide veh in 8 ft lanes you need to take up 1.5 lanes that is y now park at stockbridge and ride the bus

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jeannie berger 7 years, 5 months ago

No, wait I forgot about having a citizens commitee, then hiring consultants. Sorry I can't run for CC, I have to much common sense. Thanks anyway troutscout

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corduroy 7 years, 5 months ago

having the busses go on Yampa or Oak is a pretty bad idea in my opinion. Firstly, the traffic is just going to get worse. Secondly, tourists are going to have no clue where the bus stops are. Seriously.. its not like they are rocket scientists. and bcpow: They really should make the bus route go all the way to Steamboat II, the fact that it doesn't currently is just stupid in my opinion. It stops at the campground which doesn't have nearly as many passengers as Steamboat II is. I say find out who you need to suggest it to and don't stop bugging them about it. We're gotten a whole new line put in for Hilltop, but Steamboat II still doesn't have a stop? It honestly is kinda strange to me

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steamboatskier 7 years, 5 months ago

I can drive to the transit center and pick up the bus, but at that point I am 3/4 of the way to my office. The bus which currently runs from Craig each morning could pick me up at Steamboat II as well. But from what I have heard on the street is this: it is full or it goes by too early and goes home too late. I agree, I ride my bike as often as possible in the summer but the traffic west of town by M&M is too crazy for me. Perhaps some day they will extend the bike bath all the way out and I can ride from there. The bus system as it is, doesn't help me out.

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jeannie berger 7 years, 5 months ago

corduroy, do you mean the tourists can't read signs or bus schedules, maybe they need to be lost. but you are right the downtown corridor is to congested as it is. Maybe turn the space station into a space bus station. one stop fits all. label it a fitness trend, we can get you into town but you gotta walk off your dinner, lunch, breakfast, to get where you want to be. since the bus ride is free it can be called free fitness, could catch on, better than issuing tickets to people just driving through town that don't know about the local law.

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steamboatskier 7 years, 5 months ago

I cannot believe the city council is actually considering this ordinance. The buses do as they wish as it stands now. Last night as I was driving through town a bus pulled out into traffic at 6th and Lincoln (I believe it was near the old Nite's Rest hotel, not sure of the exact location) without using a turn signal. OK-ing this ordinance makes me wonder what other laws the city PD will be enforcing in the future.

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dundalk 7 years, 5 months ago

And of course, YOU are the best driver in the world; never making a mistake, right? Do you thank a PD officer when you get pulled over (if you ever have)?

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steamboatskier 7 years, 5 months ago

I never stated anything about my driving record, or the number of times I have been pulled over or ticketed for that matter. And yes I thank our officers for being out there each and everyday! Their job is hard enough as it is. My comment was simply stating our officers have much better things to do then to enforce an ordinance such as that. Their time can be better suited elswehere.

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tee_eff 7 years, 5 months ago

Its a malady that is not confined to Steamboat. It is common in Europe, Asia and even Australia. Bloodybusitis (bloody-bus-itis) is a disease that shrinks the brain of a motorist to the size of a gum nut when it comes to anything to do with sharing the road with a bus. Motorists suffering from bloodybusitis see a bus, and they MUST be in front of it, or if it is trying to enter the traffic flow, they will speed up to beat the bus, or their esteem will suffer a severe blow. The move to give buses right of way coming out of a bus stop is not new. It is common in parts of Europe, the US and Australia.

In Perth, West Oz, 'Bus Bay Give Way' was trialled in the early 90s amid cries very similar to those expressed in here. The trial was scheduled to run 12 months and was only to apply to bus bays. It was such a success, the rule was made law 6 months later, and later still included all bus stops.

The fears of buses pulling out in front of traffic and creating a dangerous situation are understandable, but it doesn't happen. The best way to treat a bus coming out of a stop under this new concept is act as if its a stop light. If you are too close to stop, you continue, if you are far enough back to make a safe stop, you stop. Bus drivers certainly would be trained/instructed NOT to put their turn signal on and pull straight out, but to be judicious in their application of the regulation.

Buses NEED a little leeway. The one-and-a-half-bus-lanes in winter is totally necessary. The lanes in Steamboat are skinny, and when there is a snow bank on both sides of Lincoln Ave, and out-of-towners throw open the doors of their trucks or SUVs without looking behind, buses which are extra wide due to ski racks, MUST stay out wide for safety's sake. I would also ask the winers who don't like buses which would you prefer in front of you - a bus loaded with 50 passengers taking up 35 feet of Lincoln Ave, or those 50 passengers in their own SUVs trying to find parking and tieing up alot more than 35 feet of Lincoln Ave?

Buses are not a bad thing. Apart from the green benefits, when you have been out on the town, and need to get home we are there to take you home, safely, and comfortably, and Steamboat Transit is free. Sure I am a bus driver. Its a great job and most motorists appreciate what buses do to make it easier for them, and are happy to give a little, to get a lot back.

Please, next time you head down Lincoln, have a look at that bus in front. See how wide it is, how skinny Lincoln Ave is. Think about how many cars are NOT in front of you, and really, is the 5 or 10 seconds longer it takes for you to reach the next stop light really worth the ulcer you're getting?

To all those people that caught our buses up and down the mountain, into deepest condoland and around the old town, I thank you for a great winter. and have a great summer y'all.

Aussie Aussie Aussie !!!

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