Among the bolder options outlined in new recommendations for downtown Steamboat is limiting Fourth, Sixth, Eighth and 10th streets to one-way traffic southbound where they cross Lincoln Avenue.

Photo by Brian Ray

Among the bolder options outlined in new recommendations for downtown Steamboat is limiting Fourth, Sixth, Eighth and 10th streets to one-way traffic southbound where they cross Lincoln Avenue.

Making sense of downtown

Preliminary Steamboat streetscape plan includes 'bold' options


— Steamboat's much-overlooked side streets could be the key to creating a more functional and engaging historic downtown.

That was the message that came through Thursday night at Centennial Hall from representatives of Britina Design Group, who advanced several bold options meant to help link Lincoln Avenue with Yampa and Oak streets. Britina was hired to design the city's Downtown Streetscape Improvement Plan at a cost of $439,000.

"I can't emphasize enough that the best opportunity you have to increase connectivity is the side streets," Britina's Kristin Cypher said.

She was speaking to an audience of about 35 people who came to glimpse design boards detailing two options each for Oak and Yampa streets and Lincoln Avenue. They were encouraged to grab felt tip pens and record their likes and dislikes right on the plans. Public Works Director Jim Weber said the comments would be incorporated into new design alternatives for another round of public meetings in December.

Several representatives of the Colorado Department of Transportation, which has jurisdiction over Lincoln Avenue/U.S. Highway 40, were in attendance and are expected to meet with city officials and the consultants today.

Cypher said Steamboat has the cultural values needed to create an engaging historic downtown, but there are challenges to overcome.

"You have this wonderful triumvirate of early ranching history, hot springs and the ski industry," she said. "There isn't another Colorado town that has these historical underpinnings of skiing."

Lincoln Avenue is a great, if noisy, commercial core, Cypher said. And Yampa Street offers opportunity as a future entertainment district with access to the river. Oak Street is ideal for defining a transition from commercial to residential neighborhoods with a park-like atmosphere. What's lacking, she said, is an obvious way to navigate downtown.

"In reality, it's quite disconnected," Cypher said.

Britina's tentative proposals include the possibility of creating bike lanes down the center of Yampa Street, and making it curve subtly to evoke the adjacent Yampa River. Other options include clearly-defined mid-block pedestrian crossings.

In order to create lively public spaces on the side streets, the consultants are suggesting making Fourth, Sixth, Eighth and 10th streets one-way southbound. That step would capitalize on views of Howelsen Hill and create parking options and the room necessary to make the pedestrian environment more attractive.

On Lincoln Avenue, both options presented would sacrifice a handful of on-street parking spot to create more functional pedestrian plazas.

The plazas would open up room for additional seating - perhaps on rock walls - landscaping, signage and more functional outdoor cafes, Britina's Katie Ross said.

Her colleague, Bob Couri, said the city's 80-foot right-of-way on Oak Street is underutilized and could be brought into play to make a greener, more appealing area of downtown.

"It's too much pavement." Couri said. "You could get a third lane in there."

One option is to create natural greenbelts or swales where storm runoff could be naturally filtered by plantings.

Cypher said in previous public meetings, she and her colleagues clearly heard that the community's core values include maintaining an authentic feel while creating a greener, better interconnected and more pedestrian-friendly downtown. The goal, she said is to tackle critical issues such as making it easier to cross the street and improving signage while honoring those core values.

"We want to make Lincoln Avenue more evocative of Steamboat," Cypher said.


thecondoguy1 9 years, 6 months ago

it would be easier to cross Lincoln and less noisey downtown if all truck traffic excepting delivery vehicles were re-routed to 20 Mile road and over Gore pass or back up 131, connect Yampa, Lincoln, and Oak, via the 10 blocks that exist, now gimmie the $439,000.00.


ColoradoNative 9 years, 6 months ago

Wow for 493k that is the best they could come up with?

How about spending 500k on 5,000 of these instead.

They city is pissing money around anyway. Why not get an instant solution going.

We need a bypass for the trucks period but what about all the local traffic. I think my idea could work.


valleygirl 9 years, 6 months ago

ColoNative - Sign me up for two - one in yellow, one in blue.


wzstfu 9 years, 6 months ago

"The plazas would open up room for additional seating - perhaps on rock walls - landscaping, signage and more functional outdoor cafes, Britina's Katie Ross said."

The $439,000 question is who the hell wants to sit along Lincoln Avenue? You can't have a conversation with all of the truck noise. I personally don't care to eat along the sidewalk and have to breath in all of the exhaust.

Once again, City Council throwing around money for studies. How about actually fixing something!!!!


ColoradoNative 9 years, 6 months ago

I plan on getting one. For $3.00 you can fill the tank and drive 100 miles!

I was sorta joking about the City buying them for residents but why not offer incentives to Steamboat residents that drive them?

Maybe a tax break?

In that picture above I can count 11 cars. Some may be local some might now be. Could you imagine what that picture would look like with 11 scooters on the main drag?

I realize not everyone can use them but there are plenty of young single people in Steamboat that could.

With two grocery stores on the same side of town I'm sure a lot of the local traffic is simply people driving to get a dozen eggs. Why not take the scooter and leave the gas guzzling 8 cylinder SUV behind!

There is a lot of talk about a bypass which I agree is needed for the big rigs blasting around town and thru town but scooters could basically use the bike lanes! Some improvements on the bike lanes would surely be less expensive.

I'm just brainstorming here but why can't the city set an example and maybe buy a couple dozen of them as a test program and monitor the results?


oofcboy 9 years, 6 months ago

I am liking the black scooter, I am not liking you reroute the trucks to my side of the county though. thats why i bought over here no tourist and no traffic Keeping it small


Zalobar 9 years, 6 months ago

so they paid 439k to someone with the smarts to read these blogs. I have read all their high priced suggestions right here on this forum. I have even made some of those suggestions. If town council could read, they could have saved the money and looked here. Oh but no one listend to a bunch of free advice. It isnt important untill its paid for. Wanna bet it goes nowhere anyway? Retail core wants the traffic. In this case no change is good.


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