City officials get serious about downtown traffic compliance

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Mike Arbuckle helps direct the flow of traffic around a street-paving project in downtown Steamboat Springs on Thursday afternoon.

— The city of Steamboat Springs is beefing up enforcement of downtown traffic and construction violations.

Deputy City Manager Wendy DuBord said Thursday that the city no longer will be lenient with pedestrians, drivers, bicyclists or construction companies that don't comply with traffic regulations and management plans.

Police, community service officers and other city officials have been directed to increase their presence downtown to make sure drivers yield to pedestrians, that trucks don't run red lights and that people don't park where they aren't supposed to, she said.

"It's a general safety issue from Second to 13th streets right now," she said. "We have been receiving an increasing number of calls from people concerned about parking, safe driving, tailgating, aggressive drivers and bikers who aren't following traffic rules."

The decision to increase enforcement comes on the heels of a Tuesday night City Council meeting in which several council members expressed their concern with downtown issues, including construction projects that have sprawled beyond their sites and onto city streets.

"We are not adequately screening these construction sites," council member Ken Brenner said. Brenner cited the Howelsen Place project on the former Harbor Hotel site as an example of unsightly chain-link fencing and debris such as rocks in the street.

Council member Towny Anderson agreed.

"Part of it is cleaning up," he said. "It's one thing to have fences, it's another to have rocks all over the road."

City Manager Alan Lanning asked the council what it wanted done.

"Tell me the level of enforcement you want, and we'll do it," he said.

DuBord said council members agreed to pay overtime to city employees to continue enforcing compliance downtown.

Police Sgt. Dale Coyner said the police department will increase its presence downtown as part of Lanning's directive.

"We have seen an increase in traffic complaints mostly around construction traffic and vehicles speeding, with the majority of it being in Old Town," he said. "People need to remember that traffic is heavy, and we have a lot of pedestrians."

DuBord said keeping the public's safety in mind and ensuring construction companies were complying with their management plans were major considerations in deciding to increase enforcement.

"No more warnings, no more excuses," she said. "People will be getting tickets, and we will be issuing stop-work orders, which no construction company wants."

DuBord reminded residents that the city's two-hour parking lots and parking along Lincoln Avenue are not for construction use.

"The situation is continuing to get worse," she said. "Every time a new construction project starts up, it just makes it that more difficult and traffic more congested. We look like a war zone."

Coyner said drivers should be patient entering downtown and be aware of the construction projects, bikers and pedestrians.

"It doesn't take much to create an unsafe situation with the numbers of families, bikers and drivers we have," he said. "I urge people to use common sense, slow down and be patient with your commute."

Reporter Mike Lawrence contributed to this story.

- To reach Alexis DeLaCruz, call 871-4234

or e-mail adelacruz@steamboatpilot.com

Comments

Zac Brennan 7 years, 5 months ago

The bicyclists and skateboarders on the sidewalks is another problem. Encourage them to use Yampa or Oak.

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Getitright 7 years, 5 months ago

Waaah, Waaaaaaaaah, Waaaaaah, the city council approved the construction, the city council has done nothing to build a bypass around town, the city council just sits on their thrones and whines about the problem. They expect an underpaid and short staffed police department to solve the problem they ignored and created. Waaaaah!

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inthespirit 7 years, 5 months ago

Heavy Traffic is an understatement... Bicyclists have to take their lives into their hands when they are on Lincoln Avenue and want to make a turn across traffic near the Library intersection as the traffic will not let them cross the street to get into the turning lane. Some kind of a solution needs to be made by the city for safety's sake as the City created this mess in the first place by not thinking ahead long term and planning alternative routes for this traffic. AND it is going to get worse as time goes by and construction keeps creating space for more people to live and visit here.

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id04sp 7 years, 5 months ago

Yeah? What else is the PD doing that takes precedence? Waiting around to thwart a bank robbery?

I'll bet Disney World has a better police force; think about it next time you're feeling Goofy.

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JazzSlave 7 years, 5 months ago

Getitright & Jean -

Are you suggesting the city not enforce relevant statues, or that it is unable to? Seems to me you're the ones doing the whining here. The city is trying to implement a solution.

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id04sp 7 years, 5 months ago

How about asking the bicyclists to have enough sense to get off the bike and obey the pedestrial rules when they need to cross a busy 4-lane intersection in the middle of traffic congestion.

Bicyclists come up on the right, where we can't see them, and then get bent out of shape when they don't get first priority to go ahead, cut in front of us to make a left turn, and get in the way of faster traffic behind them that was IN FRONT OF THEM until they came up and butted in.

GET OFF THE BIKE and WALK IT ACROSS THE CROSSWALK instead of turning left from the left lane. It's faster for everyone, including cyclists.

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SteamboatJoe 7 years, 5 months ago

Why aren't the cyclists on the bike path? It may be a bit out of the way, but I use it for safety purposes then cross with the light across Lincoln to get to the other side of town. Why not think about using what we already have in place?

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steamboatlover 7 years, 5 months ago

I agree with SteamboatJoe. There is a path - it should be used. Not just for the safety of those on the bikes but for those driving in downtown traffic. Watching for people visiting that tend to go slower or make odd stops, not having any turn signals to assist us when driving and construction going on everywhere make it even more difficult to watch for bikes and peds in odd areas. The path offers room and scenery, as well as some shade and protection from all the cars!

And as for the whiners - unless you're doing the jobs of our law enforcement, quit your griping. You are either part of the solution or part of the problem. I think it's time to pick a side - let's hope for a solution.

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twostroketerror 7 years, 5 months ago

Drive fast, take chances, pass on the right. Don't forget your self righteous 'I live here' attitude, your cell phone, and your 'local' bumper sticker. Happy motoring!

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dundalk 7 years, 5 months ago

In the spirit: I have an observation from your previous post. You seem to think its rather dangerous to bikers when they are on Lincoln. Unless you're heading up towards the hot springs, why can't the bikers spare themselves the obvious dangers and simply use the core trail instead of Lincoln?

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Magpie 7 years, 5 months ago

There really is no reason to bicycle on Lincoln between 3rd and 12th. Yampa or Oak work better and make more sense.

As for the bike path, the problem is that it isn't a bike path, especially in town, it is a walk/stroller/dog path that is almost dangerous for bicyclists to use. This is especially true where there are places to see something (like outside the library with people spread out all over the path to watch the kayakers). I'll ride with my kids (who ride very slowly) on the bike path, but when I go out for a ride, it is safer for me on the street where I follow the rules of the road and not trying to weave around groups walking on the path. Still, I don't ride on Lincoln, not worth it when I can ride on Yampa or Oak - much nicer.

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jeannie berger 7 years, 5 months ago

Magpie, you are so right. No reason to bike on Lincoln ave. and yes the bike path is slow going sometimes. This is the toughest year I have seen for traffic through town. We used to laugh about Steamboat having a rush hour, now it is all day long. Glad to see the PD stepping up traffic enforcement.

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dave reynolds 7 years, 5 months ago

which part of the traffic complaints haven't been going on for YEARS..now I appreciate the job the hard working law enforcment team is doing but some of this is thier own doing by LACK of enforcement..Last Sat while going to City Market driving down Lincoln..two of our SPECIAL BYCYCLISTS are riding two a breast in the right lane East bound their was a string of traffic behind but they sure samed to give a S..t less..Oh thats right its the people in the cars and trucks who are jepordizing the roadies lives..I agree stepping up enforcement will get peoples attention and will help..everyone please drive careful and for petes sake don't let any tissue paper accidently blow out your window..for you might be the next victum of the Littering police..lol

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