Ron Roundtree: Bypass bad idea


— The proposal to cause a bypass around downtown by constructing a new roadway above Howelsen Hill is an incredibly bad idea. When proposed in the past, it has been discarded, and for good reason. Significant public funds and private donations have been contributed to the preservation of the land above the Yampa River to the southwest of Steamboat Springs, and with the ink barely dry on the Emerald Mountain Land Exchange, to violate that high ground open space and any existing conservation easements with a roadway would be a travesty.

Only recently the city has touted the achievement of the Emerald Mountain preservation as monumental, with two of our council members making speeches at the dedication ceremony about the significance of the project. Also, at the recent dedication of Gloria Gossard Park, Towny Anderson claimed, "When all the pieces of Emerald Mountain Park are put together, they make one of the more extensive community parks of its kind. It's just a beautiful gift."

Will these same people step up to protect what they say is so precious?

The results of every public survey in the last decade have made clear the No. 1 priority - preserve our natural areas and open space. To jeopardize all the work and commitment of so many to the preservation of open space would violate the public trust.

Additionally, the impact of broadcast lighting and noise on the whole Old Town basin is being ignored. Trucks ascending and descending the grades, spewing exhaust with chortling jake brakes, is a soothing thought. If we do not demonstrate responsible stewardship of our view corridors and open space, who will?

It is clear where John Fielding and Steve Elkins, architects of Howelsen bypass options, stand with regard to preserving open space and view corridors. Fielding is more concerned with buildings when, discussing other options, he says, "It is a shame we have to tear down a building." And Elkins thinks building a road across our open and preserved lands will lead to a "more enjoyable lifestyle." I wonder if either of them has ever been to Bend, Ore., another destination resort town, where they built a bypass around downtown through an industrial area only to find that it solved nothing. Like Steamboat, the bulk of traffic in town is heading to destinations in and around downtown. People from the west side of Steamboat who are going skiing may find the bypass useful, and if you live at the mountain and want to lunch in Hayden, you might find it useful.

Many say they want Steamboat to remain unlike any other place. Towny Anderson recently said "control is key to managing growth." I know, let's build 2,500 new homes on the west side and, as part of our vision, build them all a quick way to get to Mount Werner across one of our most important and distinctive assets. This outrageous proposal must again be discarded and other means of easing downtown traffic explored. Increasing public transit, along with improving traffic flow through town, and not around it, is a better solution.

It is time for people who truly don't want Steamboat to be like any other place to challenge their public leaders to take a stand and choose land preservation over perceived public convenience. In the words of Joni Mitchell, "Don't it always seem to go, that you don't know what you've got, 'til it's gone. They paved paradise and put up a parking lot."

Ron Roundtree

Steamboat Springs


dimwitiguess 9 years, 5 months ago

Forget the "public lands" and "private donations" arguments. NO ONE will use the dumb by-pass anyway because people aren't patient enough to take their time driving through downtown, let alone adding time by driving over and around a MOUNTAIN!

Let's try to build an overpass right over top of Lincoln - 13 blocks long and forty feet above for through traffic. At least the noise and pollution will dissipate above us. That's how they do things in Denver and California (and maybe even Aspen, Pilot). Call it the Dimwit Throughway. You don't have to say it, I know, I'm just a dimwitiguess.


rodcarew 9 years, 5 months ago

I agree with Ron Roundtree. Let's put this insane idea to bed before it "gains steam".


Troutscout 9 years, 5 months ago

Make Oak street a one way going west, Yampa street a one way going east. Move all bus stops off of Main street to Yampa or Oak streets. People would only have to walk about 50 yards at the most, to get to Main street. Have parking on one side only on Yampa and Oak. This proposal would cost the price on one- way signs. It could even be done as an experiment to see if it works.


twostroketerror 9 years, 5 months ago

Something must be done. As long as people keep breeding like rats, this problem will get worse before it gets better.


retiredinss 9 years, 5 months ago

It ain't breeding that's causing this problem, it's migration!!! We can stop folks from moving here, but do we really want that? Creative solutions needed, and soonest.


colobob 9 years, 5 months ago

I'm with you Ron. You have to wonder what the real motives of the bypass are. I for one believe its intent is to create access for future developement, especially since at least one study shows that the bypass wouldn't resolve the traffic problem anyway. I commend Mr. Orton for his opposition of the bypass. He and others could easily make a killing selling off their property if the bypass went through, instead HE would rather preserve the mountain. It may be prudent to take a closer look at those trying to push this proposal through and determine if there are ulterior motives driving this proposal forward. When was the last time a road was constructed when just a road was constructed. Zoning? Zoning can be changed, it happens everyday all over the country. Park or state land? Private ownership can happen there as well. Example: Defunct lighthouses. It wouldn't even surprise me to see special interests try and subdivide the Grand Canyon someday. Virtually nothing today is undoable if enough money were involved. If you put in a road to hell someone would eventually try to build on it! This whole bypass idea has a very bad air to it. There are a number of ideas out there that if combined could help alleviate the traffic problem. Opening up Pandora's Box with the bypass isn't one of them!


JQPUBLIC 9 years, 5 months ago

Sorry troutscout... even though it makes sense, it doesn't cost enough to be considered. They can't cry the need for more taxes if all they need to spend is for new signs and moving bus stops.


another_local 9 years, 5 months ago

Folks, you need to actually look at the proposals before you comment. The emerald mountain bypass proposed is 2/10ths of a mile longer than the stretch of US 40 it would bypass. Condidering it would also skip about a dozen stoplights and most likely run at 45 miles an hour, the time savings would be significant.

Also, putting in a road is not the same as delveloping it. Mr Orton can continue his generous approach to land ownership with no problems even if a road goes over the mountain.

We do have to do something and the bypass deserves a hard look. It will take 10 years to get it done in any case. You can not just keep your head in the sand and say we do not need to look at this "yet".


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