Steamboat Springs resident Holly Williams signals a left turn into Perry-Mansfield Performing Arts School on Thursday off Routt County Road 36. Williams said she feels safe biking on the road but was "not very happy" about the planned narrowing of the road's shoulder.

Photo by Matt Stensland

Steamboat Springs resident Holly Williams signals a left turn into Perry-Mansfield Performing Arts School on Thursday off Routt County Road 36. Williams said she feels safe biking on the road but was "not very happy" about the planned narrowing of the road's shoulder.

Stripes cause strife

Despite outcry, narrowed shoulders could be painted today

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— Road stripers could widen the lanes of traffic on Routt County Road 36 as soon as today, despite strong public opposition to narrowed shoulders on the popular recreation corridor through Strawberry Park.

Routt County Commissioner Nancy Stahoviak said Thursday that she has received "an overwhelming flood of comments" about the decision to widen lanes on C.R. 36 by a foot, thus reducing the road's shoulders to 4 feet. The Routt County Board of Commissioners voted, 2-1, in favor of the new striping Tuesday. Commissioner Doug Monger joined Stahoviak in support of the widening, which Commissioner Diane Mitsch Bush and numerous Strawberry Park residents opposed.

"I just didn't understand why they weren't listening to the public," Mitsch Bush said Wednesday of her colleagues' decision. "I didn't understand the reasoning."

Although Mitsch Bush said she plans to informally discuss the topic with Monger and Stahoviak next week, that conversation could occur after the lanes are realigned.

Paul Draper, the county's road and bridge director, said the county has contracted with Patriot Highway Markings of Rifle to stripe all of the county's paved roads - more than 150 miles - at a cost of $150,000.

"Our striper is here working," Draper said Thursday. "If (commissioners) want to reconsider, they better do that quick."

Draper said the striping will continue through next week. He did not know specifically when C.R. 36 would be striped.

The stretch of road affected is from city limits to a bridge over Soda Creek. C.R. 36 ends at the Strawberry Park Hot Springs and leads to several trails and accesses to public lands. It also provides access to C.R. 38, which leads to Dry Lake Campground, Buffalo Pass and other popular areas of the Routt National Forest.

"We're out there all the time. There's all kinds of users, motorized and non-motorized," said Michael Loomis, who lives with his family on C.R. 38A at the base of Buffalo Pass. "It's not only cyclists that have a concern here - there's a lot of runners out there, people with their dogs, horseback riders, etc. - it's really a multi-use road."

Loomis sent Monger and Stahoviak an e-mail expressing his concerns, as did Old Town Steamboat Springs resident Ken Kowynia.

"I rarely use that road, but I just think a general concept of favoring cars over bikes is not what this community needs to do," Kowynia said Thursday, during Bike to Work Week in Routt County. "We need to remove all the disincentives for people riding their bikes."

Striping for safety

Monger and Stahoviak cited safety concerns created by speeding vehicles on C.R. 36. Monger said in addition to widening the lanes, commissioners also will increase signage, ask the Routt County Sheriff's Office to increase enforcement on the road and possibly implement new speed-monitoring measures such as photo-ticketing.

"We have to have people start being accountable to the speed limits," Monger said, adding that the C.R. 36 issue has been "blown out of proportion."

"It's a foot," he said. "We still have a 4-foot shoulder out there right now, and that's probably more than any other road in Routt County."

Draper said C.R. 36 is the only road with 9-foot vehicle lanes in Routt County. Winding C.R. 14, also known as River Road, has 11-foot vehicle lanes, he said.

Draper said a 2006 striping error indirectly led to the 9-foot lanes, a width he said was chosen to "calm the traffic, or at least have a higher level of attention to the driving lane" - a view contrary to that held by Monger and Stahoviak.

Stahoviak declined to comment on the issue Thursday, citing a memo that she will present today to groups including Routt County Riders.

"Nancy said she has found some more information that she would like to refer to in defense of our decision," Monger said.

Mitsch Bush said if no additional action is taken, she intends to revisit the issue before road striping next summer.

Brandon Gee contributed to this report.

Comments

grannyrett 6 years, 5 months ago

One person complains and the county commissioners jump? Guess it just goes to prove--it doesn't matter what is right, it just matters who you are.

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GuyOnABike 6 years, 5 months ago

Bottom line is I Vote, and there are two commisioners who will not get my vote again.

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thefarmer 6 years, 5 months ago

"Draper said C.R. 36 is the only road with 9-foot vehicle lanes in Routt County. Winding C.R. 14, also known as River Road, has 11-foot vehicle lanes, he said." He forgot to metion that River Road has Zero-foot bike lanes.

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80488mom 6 years, 5 months ago

Sure wish there were one of those photo ticketing devices on CR 14. It's become a super highway. It's not uncommon, but the norm, to see people driving over 65mph and perhaps higher in their haste to get to town. There have been countless times I've been passed in the no pass zone.

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nickleD 6 years, 5 months ago

CR 14 from Brooklyn to Tree Haus has a 9' vehicle travel lane, and anywhere from 0 - 1.5' to the right of the white stripe. Go measure it, I did. The portion of CR 36 known as the Shelf Rd., running above the schools from North Park to Amethyst has only a 1 - 2' lane for non-motorized users, and the new striping will reduce this to zero at some points. This section sees a tremendous level of non-motorized use, and will become much more dangerous with the traffic speeds around 40mph (posted as 30 mph) and nowhere to go. Poor decision.

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raver 6 years, 5 months ago

What did we do before the roads were striped?Common sense on the part of both drivers and bikers could solve alot of problems.

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justathought 6 years, 5 months ago

Sorry raver, common sense can't be taught in school so there seems to be a shortage of it nowadays.

I know Stahoviak and I know she wouldn't make a decision based on one persons opinion no matter who it may be. A dozen loud mouths complaining does not make a majority and I'm willing to bet there are more voting drivers than voting bikers.

I personally would like to see "no bicycles" signs on all the narrow winding mountain roads. I've seen a lot more of the screw you attitudes from cyclists than I've seen of share the road riders, AND I'm NOT aggressive toward cyclists because I'm not real fond of hitting anyone or anything, even if they are idiots.

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corduroy 6 years, 5 months ago

its just a line!!! you don't need to stay to the right of it if you feel that it does not give you enough room!

I think its funny how the community is all up in arms about some road paint.. come on!

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surelysurly 6 years, 5 months ago

justathought - "Nancy Stahoviak said Thursday that she has received "an overwhelming flood of comments" -this is not just a dozen loud mouths complaining - you might have to accept that your opinion on THIS specific issue (CR36) may be in the minority. On the note of attitudes, yesterday a couple of guys flipped me off and yelled obsenities as I was riding on River Road, to the right of the line, only 5mph below the speed limit. The best part is they weren't even going anywhere - they drove to HH and turned around - just out driving and harassing. Having not ridden a bicycle on the road, I'm not sure you are in a position to evaluate the number of "screw you" attitudes from cyclists vs. the "screw you" attitudes from motorists. As a cyclist and driver, I can say that I have received more attitude from drivers than from cyclists. Also, the "no bicycles" sign should also read "no walkers, no runners, no horses, no farm equipment, no wildlife, no road hazards, no fallen trees, no exploded truck tires, etc....

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BoatMaster 6 years, 5 months ago

corduroy

It is more than road paint.... can't you figure it out?

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SilverSpoon 6 years, 5 months ago

Rumor has it, the city is going to put up signage of a bike route through town. That is another laughable idea. Oak and yampa are the likely recommended routes, but they are terrible routes with uncontrolled cross traffic. I prefer my bike route, taking a whole lane riding right down lincoln ave. Riding down the middle of the lane is safe because: a. no one can open their door into me(how many busses rip of car doors per year?) b. It prevents a moron motorist from making a dangerous, impatiant pass.

When are they going to bring lincoln avenue up to modern traffic standards? That left turn lane has got to go!

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Tamera Manzanares 6 years, 5 months ago

It's unfortunate that normally level-headed Monger and Stahoviak would make such a seemingly hasty decision. It's not surprising that they would think the issue has been "blown out of proportion" since they live in Hayden and S. Routt and probably rarely head out CR 36 or cycle. Yes, it is just paint, it won't make the road wider or really change anything. So why spend the money if it's just going to encourage cars to go faster, reinforce negative attitudes about cyclists and undermine a neighborhood group willing to work with the county to improve safety for all?

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notmybus 6 years, 5 months ago

all the paint on the road ...9' travel lane ... 12' travell lane will not change the safety of the road. we are each reponsible for our own safety and it starts with a positivie attitude, cyclist or motorist alike. I just read a lot of negative and pissy attitude in most of the postings so are we really ever going to ever have true safety in any thing that we do in the world?

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slow_rider 6 years, 5 months ago

Tomorrow at 9:00am is the Cruiser Rally that takes a tour of downtown starting and finishing at the historic Courthouse. After the prize draw there will be an orderly protest ride out to RCR 36.

If this is an issue close to your heart please come and show our elected officials that a Bicycle Friendly Community is something that we want. Bike lanes (as wide as possible please) are part of that goal.

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Will Wiggins 6 years, 5 months ago

9 foot was an error. Roads should be 11, if not 12 foot wide. End of story. Bottom line. I have moved on and I bike that road as much as anyone.

Political corruption at play?? You people watch way too much TV.

Rob, I am sorry to see the credibility of your articles take a turn for the worse. As someone who could not attend the meeting, I read nothing from your article which made mention of the other side's position. Intead you chose a provocative approach to question the integrity of our community servants. Shame on you.

"... so that everyone can once again share the road." Are you kidding me? They have FOUR FEET, Rob. That is a half foot less than the current allotted amount for a family van! How much room do you need to ride single file?

The issues at play here have nothing to do with Stahoviak and Monger versus Mitch-Busch. The issues at play here have nothing to do with a Senator's wife or how her perfectly pampered day is disturbed.

Monger said it best, "People need to be held accountable." Albeit drivers and speeding or bicyclist and riding single-file. It doesn't take an officer on the side of the road to make it a better place. It takes personal responsiblity and consideration for our brothers and sisters. When that day comes, the fog will clear.

Stop the soap opera. It's just paint.

Bikers, please don't ride three abreast. Rest assured, I will slow down for you either way.

Love thy neighbor.

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Don Little 6 years, 5 months ago

I have voted for both Stahoviak and Monger since forever. Also, I have voted for Jack Taylor forever. I'll never vote for either Commissioner again and am only sorry that Jack is out due to term limits. I will miss voting for his opponent. Bummer!

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whattheheck 6 years, 5 months ago

bikers are a pain. roads were built for cars. bikers who say that they also pay taxes for roads have a right to drive there CARS on the roads. We cant drive our motorcycles on your bike path. Safety of the motor public should come first, so stop your whining about a foot of the road that was built for cars.

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confused 6 years, 5 months ago

Here is a problem solver - You bicyclist that are all hurt about a line painted on the road should pay more attention to where you are riding and be more considerate of the motorist on the road while you are out enjoying your day. Don't ruin someone elses because you think the road belongs to you and no one else. There are a select few of you that do pay attention and do your part to "share" the road but the majority of the bicyclists out there are all about them and make it hard to play nice. I ride on trails and bike paths where I am not being selfish and unsafe. If you choose to ride on CR36, 14, 29 or Hwy 131 or 40 - lines or no lines be aware that this is a road - made for vehicles not bicycles and be considerate of the motorist that are traveling on that road with you. They were there first and have no where else to go when you cut them off because you think you belong there.

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surelysurly 6 years, 5 months ago

I challenge any one of you who seem to loathe and despise cyclists so much to this: We'll go drive from Oak Creek to Clark with a County Sherriff or State Partol officer riding shotgun. The officer will have a note pad, and since he knows all of the traffic laws, we will have him log all of the traffic offenses during the drive. I GUARANTEE that motorists will have many times more offenses than cyclists. We'll also log all of the incidents where the "safety of the motor public" is compromised, and again I will win. As I've said before, I just don't get it. We are the only country in the world that prioritizes personal motor vehicles as the primary mode of transportation. But hey, we are the US, and know better than the rest of the world. I can't wait until gas prices get to $10/gallon - better figure out what to do about your hate for cyclists, because they aren't going away, and you never know when you'll be forced to be one either financially, DUI, etc...

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fish 6 years, 5 months ago

Never no when you will be forced to ride on financially or DUI.

Well I guess that I may have to get a second job to keep up with the gas prices, you have me on that one, but DUI, sorry maybe you are dumb enough to drink and drive but not me.

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surelysurly 6 years, 5 months ago

You know fish, I never did say that I was dumb enough to drink and drive, but I'll tell you there sure is more of an uproar about cyclists using roads they are legally allowed to than there is about motorists doing illegal things like drinking and driving. I was just using that as a note that driving too is a privilege, which some people do lose due to dui's. In fact, I would bet that on any given day there are more people driving who have been drinking than there are cyclists riding 2-3 abreast, but it is a lame point since there is no way to prove it.

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whattheheck 6 years, 5 months ago

It dont matter. Bikers are just another special interest group who want it there way, and no matter what, everybody but them is wrong. Please give them there space so they will shut the heck up.

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nxoby36 6 years, 5 months ago

Every auto has to be licensed and the owner pays a tax to maintain the roads, every operator of an auto has to pass an exam to obtain a driver license . It is about time to license and tax the bicycle and require the riders to pass an exam to obtain a license complete with a point system where by the right to operate a bicycle upon our road system could be revoked ( not very many of the riders in this county seem to know nor obey the rules of the road and it is about time given the amount of bicycles there are that they be treated in an equal manner that all other users of the road are ) . Once this is done the police , sheriff and state patrol officers will be able to enforce the law by issuing tickets to the riders who endanger themselves and all others operating vehicles upon our road system . Only after this is done should bicycle riders have any say in how the roads are marked and maintained . I am tired of trying to avoid being involved in an accident the stupid antics that the bicycle riders in our community do on a daily basis . They seem intent upon causing accidents by running stop signs , traffic lights and the failing to comply with the basic rules of the road . Until they are licensed , taxed and held accountable for their sloppy and unsafe presence upon our road system maybe they ( bicycles and their riders ) need to be relegated to a closed bike path system where they will only be a hazard to other riders and their child like actions .

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BoatMaster 6 years, 5 months ago

nxoby36

Your idea I believe is ridiculas.

Do you think all bike riders do not own a auto and pay the tax you mention?? I would guess that about 90% of the bike riders also have a auto.

Therefore bicycle riders do have a say in how the roads are used.

As for you system of allowing the police to ticket bike riders that already exists. Bike riders have to obey the same laws as motorists so if they break the law they can be ticketed. It is the decision of the police officer to ticket or not.

This weekend I saw over 5 autos run red lights. What do you have to say about this?? The police did not ticket them either so don't think bike riders have more infractions and get away with more than car drivers because that is not the case.

You should just learn to share the road and everything will be fine.

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whattheheck 6 years, 5 months ago

once again, boatMaster, you have a right to use the roads for your CARS!!!!

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