Doug Monger and Nancy Stahoviak: Re-striping of C.R. 36 a safety issue

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— We have received a number of requests via email from bicyclists to reconsider the decision made Tuesday, June 24, to re-stripe Routt County Road 36 from the existing 9-foot driving lanes and existing 5-foot identified shoulders to 10-foot driving lanes and 4-foot identified shoulders. We have independently come to the conclusion that we are not willing to reconsider that decision at this time. Commissioner Stahoviak was in the process of preparing a statement outlining her reasons for taking this position when Commissioner Monger asked to review the statement, and add his comments so that a joint statement could be issued.

The decision we made June 24 was not made lightly. Nor was it made based on the concerns expressed by one individual (who, we understand, was actually speaking for some of her neighbors, also). Our decision was made based historical discussions regarding C.R. 36, citizen comments that we have received over the years, the types and volumes of traffic that use the road, our personal observations of the road, and our belief that the narrowing of the driving lane has not "calmed" vehicular traffic and caused it to slow down. We both indicated at the hearing that the only way to cause speeders to obey the speed limit is through enforcement of that speed limit by the Routt County sheriff. We also both stated at the hearing that more appropriate signage directed at vehicular and non vehicular traffic would be appropriate.

We do not believe that the one-foot change in the width of the lanes on C.R. 36 is a "step backward" regarding Routt County's intentions to, whenever possible, make our roads safer for all users. In response to requests from the bicyclist community several years ago, we reduced the size of the chips placed on our roads when they are chip-sealed. Whenever we are considering the reconstruction or paving of a county road, we make every attempt to widen the road to allow for safer multi-use of the road. For many years, we have championed the continued widening and reconstruction of Colorado Highway 131 to make it safer for bicyclists to use. Every time we have reconstructed a section of C.R. 14 or C.R. 129, we have included additional shoulder width to make those roads safer for bicycle use. Our decision take the identified shoulders on C.R. 36 from 5 feet to 4 feet still allows for safe, separated non vehicular use on that road.

We are both still unclear as to how the decision to create 9-foot driving lanes on this road several years ago occurred. Our road and bridge staff has not been able to provide us with the record of a formal decision by the county commissioners to create those narrow driving lanes and neither of us recall having that discussion or making that decision. In 1995, the county had planned to widen C.R. 36 to 30 feet of pavement, with an 11-foot driving lane and 4-foot identified shoulder on each side of the road. The intent of this road-widening was to create a safer experience for all users of the road. The members of the public, including bicyclists, that attended a hearing on Aug. 29, 1995, adamantly opposed widening of the road. The Strawberry Park Group recommended keeping the driving surface of the road at 22 feet (two 11-foot lanes) and adding enough pavement to ensure a 2 1/2- to 3-foot paved shoulder on each side for non vehicular traffic. In the end, the road was widened slightly when it was overlayed to create a total paved width of 28 feet, which is what we have today. In our opinion, errors made by the striping contractor several years ago created the 9-foot driving lanes and 5-foot shoulders without any direction from the Board of County Commissioners.

Since receiving requests to reconsider our decision, Commissioner Stahoviak spent several hours researching information regarding road width, lane width, and the creation of separate bicycle lanes as part of a paved roadway. It quickly became obvious to her that this is an area that requires much more discussion on the part of the Routt County Commissioners and our citizens in order to create a broad policy regarding how we attempt to accommodate mixed uses our on county roads. It will take time to have this discussion in a thoughtful, well-informed manner and it is our recommendation that we convene some public meetings in the fall/winter of this year to consider such a policy.

The following is some of the information gleaned by Commissioner Stahoviak's research that pertains not only to the decision regarding C.R. 36, but is food for thought in future discussions:

- 12-foot lanes are the ideal minimum when providing strictly for motor traffic. An engineering guideline that was reviewed stated that 12-foot lane widths are desirable on both rural and urban roadways, but, in rural areas with low traffic volumes, the use of 10-foot lanes is acceptable. We do not believe that C.R. 36 is a low traffic volume road but were willing to compromise at the 10-foot width.

- 9-foot lanes are appropriate on low-volume roads in rural and residential areas. In our opinion, C.R. 36 is not a low-volume road. Its average daily traffic not only includes the residents that live on the road, but those traveling to destinations along the road Buffalo Pass (C.R. 38), Whiteman School, USFS lands and the Strawberry Park Hot Springs.

- Many cyclists as well as motorists are proponents of wider pavement on roads that carry substantial traffic as a way to minimize the potential for conflict. Thirty- to 32-foot total pavement width is optimum for shared use of roadways. In hindsight, we should have, contrary to public opinion at the time, widened C.R. 36 in 1995 to allow for a surface that would safely accommodate all users.

- Although it has been stated by many that narrowing the driving lane of a road will cause motorists to slow down, empirical studies in Howard County, Md.; Beaverton, Ore.; and San Antonio, Texas suggest that vehicle speeds are as likely to increase as decrease with creation of those narrow lanes through striping. One explanation is that centerlines and edge lines used to narrow the road define the vehicle travel path more clearly, creating a gun barrel effect.

- There is a body of evidence that advocates that striping bike lanes does not create better conditions for cycling or improve safety compared to the same pavement space without striping.

Routt County has a very diverse population and, as county commissioners, we have always attempted to find a middle ground that is acceptable to the majority of our citizens without compromising the health, safety and welfare of our community. We feel that is what we did regarding C.R. 36. We know from comments we have received throughout the years and those we have received recently, that there are differing opinions about how the commissioners should address multiple uses on our county roads. The goal for all of us should be to bring those differing opinions together in an effort to educate, communicate and compromise.

We, as Routt County commissioners, will continue to work toward the safest possible options for multiple uses of our county roads and will make decisions based on resources available to improve and maintain our countywide road system, taking into consideration the views and opinions of all our citizens.

Comments

comtboy 6 years, 2 months ago

Ok, to all of you whiners, ... it is very rare for me to agree with politicians but in this case I do have to agree with Commissioners Stahoviak and Monger. Before you espouse opinion that these officials have no business being in office do some research!

For grins I did a simple Google search on roadway surface standards for various municipalities, counties and States throughout our country.

I was very hard pressed to find any vehicular lane widths of less than 10'. In those rare instances the commonality was 9.5' and the posted speed limit was always 30mph or less. It was also very intersting to note that in most situations a roadway with 9' lanes of vehicular travel were considered alleys (regardless of whether the widths were for one or two directional travel) or very low traffic rural roads (like most of South Routt). Some municipalities went as far as to define these roads by the number of residences along them. I am sorry, I do not think that the road connecting users of one of the more popular areas of our National Forest would be considered low traffic (it does not take much of an education to determine that).

For those of you that will not do your own reasearch I cite one example of what I found. The AASHTO (American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials) does recommend a 5' travel lane for bicycles when speeds exceed 50 MPH (4' for slower speeds), however it also recommends vehicular travel lanes of 14' at this same speed.

I am sorry, given that politicians caved to "public opinion" in 1995 and did not widen the road as they should have I see this as a great compromise. Cyclists are still offered a 4' travel lane; the AASHTO recommendation for roads with vehicular travel lanes of 10'.

Instead of wasting efforts on this road (which is a decent compromise) why not focus your efforts at a STATE level to get 131 widened and putting pressure on the commissioners to get 14 widened to accomodate safe travel for all of its users. It is only a matter of time until someone is killed in Oak Creek Canyon or on Yellow Jacket; regardless if it is an arrogrant cyclist that has the "its my road too" mentality or a rude driver with the "how dare you slow me down and you don't pay for it" mentality!

PS; cyclists obey traffic laws. C.R.S 42-4-1412(http://www.dot.state.co.us/BikePed/Manual/12%20CO%20Statutes.pdf). Before you come back say that vehicles don't obey; I know and I don't condone that either! The difference is that I was required to take a test (written and driving) before getting in a vehicle. You did not before you hopped on your bike.

Finally, I would like to admonish our Commissioners to come up with design standards and practices that are consistent with the uses of our community. For example, the City of Aurora is very specific http://www.auroragov.org/stellent/groups/public/documents/article-publication/030275.pdf) on how roads are designed.

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rsssco 6 years, 2 months ago

Here's a translated summary of the above letter:

Dear Voters, Doug and I stepped in it big time when we changed the road as a political favor for Geneva and Jack Taylor, so I ran home and pulled together a bunch of jive nonsense to try to come up with a post-vote reason for the way I voted other than the real reason for the way I voted. I hope you as voters are too stupid to realize what I did and will fall for the nonsense above. And if not--I don't give a hoot because you fools were too stupid to put a candidate up against me and ol Dougy Boy in the election this coming November so Ha Ha Ha, the jokes on you. By the time I'm up for election again in more than 4 years you morons will forget about this as we politicans know you're more interested in whether Britany Spears is wearing underwear than the way I run the county as a little dictator. Thank you, signed: Jack & Geneva's Humble Republican Servant

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housepoor 6 years, 2 months ago

what a bunch of bs.....not sure where they pulled this info from but it is obvious it was after the decision was made...just covering their behinds...which have been sitting in the same seat toooooo long!!!! Wake up at be a little forward thinking...

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RouttcoNative 6 years, 2 months ago

Lets get real, as long as motorists are the largest users and taxpayers on our roads that is where the City, County and State are going to spend our money for better paved safer roads for the motorists.
Routt County, The City of Steamboat aren't bicycle friendly and they aren't pedestrian friendly, or motorist friendly, dead end side walks, no bike lanes, the driving lanes on Lincoln Ave. are illegal, thats why there wasn't a ticket issued when the bike rider got hit. no turn arrows to turn on or off Lincoln Ave, not enough parking, no bypass, etc, etc. The tax money will still continue to be spent mostly on the majority... the motorist. someday when you aren't late for work and have time to drive with out a cell phone in your ear count the number of motorists, pedestrians and Bicycles on any of our streets and roads and you might have a better idea partly why the County Commissioners made their decision. In the mean time, slow down...save gas, put down the cell phone, wave at your neighbors on your way to work, be very, very careful as a motorist, pedestrian and bike rider, everyone share the road please, and we will also be thankful the bicycle rider wasn't killed and hope no one gets hurt or killed on our streets and roads. Have a great day, isn't it beautiful outdoors!

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colobob 6 years, 2 months ago

rsssco, I have what I think is an appropriate title for you post.................., "The Politicians Creed." I think I'll copy it and keep it for future use. I will however replace the names with __, (blanks) and save it for future use. This could be quite handy and it would make a great form letter. You're not alone in your view of politicians in general.

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justathought 6 years, 2 months ago

Thank you rsssco & housepoor, your comments prove the mentality of too many of the cyclists we motorists have to endure on the roads.

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colobob 6 years, 2 months ago

"There are three kinds of lies: Lies, damned lies, and statistics." Mark Twain

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rsssco 6 years, 2 months ago

colobob Good point. I wonder what it is when a politician uses statistics? lol

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surelysurly 6 years, 2 months ago

nice assumption justathought, since there was no mention that they are actually cyclists. Maybe they live out there and are frustrated that the decision was made in the way that it was.

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BigOil 6 years, 2 months ago

2 points our esteemed politicians made are untrue. First, "Every time we have reconstructed a section of C.R. 14 or C.R. 129, we have included additional shoulder width to make those roads safer for bicycle use."

This is untrue as the shoulders on 129 are in worse shape after the work they've done over the past few years. The shoulders have been consistently eliminated as opposed to enhanced.

Second, " In response to requests from the bicyclist community several years ago, we reduced the size of the chips placed on our roads when they are chip-sealed. "

This, again, is untrue. The size of the chip's have remained unacceptable. Even Paul Draper has acknowledged this in the past. The State chip-sealed Rabbit Ears Pass with the proper size and it's fantastic.

Once again our out-of-touch commissioners have demonstrated a lack of commitment to enhancing the recreational value of Routt county.

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steamboatparent 6 years, 2 months ago

Once again, defending a bad move. Can Routt County look forward someday? Ford Motor Company shuts down 3 factories producing huge SUV's and big pickups because sales are off by 40% and we need bigger driving lanes? In the last 10 years there are more and more cyclists using the road for commuting and recreation. All the comparisons the commisioners are willing to make are within our county, never outside the county let alone outside the country. Look around and see what is going on. Don't find excuses to move backward.

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upstream 6 years, 2 months ago

nancy, doug, with all due respect, ARE YOU KIDDING?! you are both so darn dippin smart and this is so darn dippin dumb- i can hardly believe you actually wrote it and i refuse to accept you actually believe it (or are you still under the impression there were wmd in iraq?).

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clancyc 6 years, 2 months ago

One, RCR36 IS a low volume, rural road and 9ft lanes could be considered appropriate. Your "opinion" does not dictate the classification of the road, do the counts! This is not something that you feel in your gut - Do I hear Stephen Colbert? - And two, this should never have become a political issue. Please develop a policy and let it run...quit micromanaging! You're wasting your own time.

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crossbikesafety 6 years, 2 months ago

Per Monger and Stahoviak above "For many years, we have championed the continued widening and reconstruction of Colorado Highway 131 to make it safer for bicyclists to use. Every time we have reconstructed a section of C.R. 14 or C.R. 129, we have included additional shoulder width to make those roads safer for bicycle use. "

Right!

Two years ago, restriping on about a 5 or 6 mile section of CR 14 from Stagecoach State Park to CO 131 (heading south) was being done. Another "error" was occurring where the shoulder lane was being restriped from an about 1 foot lane to right next to the very edge! After seeing this, and many phone calls to get to the right R&B person, we were told it was an "error" and R&B contacted the striping crew. This was corrected, but only for what wasn't striped yet. Hence, the southbound direction now has about a 2 inch to no shoulder lane, and the northbound direction has a 1-2 foot lane. Thanks to Road and Bridge for correcting the error at the time.

And the ABSURDITY continues.

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nxoby36 6 years, 2 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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cmducks 6 years, 2 months ago

I think it would be a great idea for bicycle riders to enjoy the fact that they are allowed to ride on the road period. It isn't a licensed vehicle, agricultural vehicle, or llama. I would love to ride my dirt bike on the road, or snow machine, but it is illegal. I am not 'entitled', just because it is there.

I also slow down to pass bikers, give them a wide birth, and try to be generally friendly, something that this valley has lost, just look at all of the whining above. 129 can either be a mess, or an outdoor wonderland, simple depending on your personal attitude, and nothing more.

Using the roads is a privilege not a right and if you don't believe that, just loose your drivers license, and a judge will tell you that point blank.

Widening the road has more to do with safety, as in all of the busses headed to the hot springs, or horse trailers headed up buff pass, snowmobile trailers, etc. If everyone wants to drive mini coopers we can't really make the roads inaccessible to the large vehicles at this time.

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Fred Duckels 6 years, 2 months ago

Geneva Taylor has worked her whole life to make this community a better place. She is not a close friend of mine but over the decades her contribution and fairness is appreciated. She does not deserve to be harpooned by the environmental-recreationist lobby.

Nancy and Doug, Hang in there! You have caved in and accomodated these terriorists most notably on the LaFarge gravel pit. Where can you go from here? If these bullies don't get their way, there will be hell to pay.

I have some ideas for these folks.

  1. You can look around and see the amenities our community has to offer. If that's not to your liking, you could move to a better place.

  2. You could roll up your sleeves and spend decades here to help out.

  3. You can overthrow the locals and run the place. Maybe you could outlaw cars.

When I was young we had one paved road in Steamboat, US 40. The rest of the county had pit run roads, if any gravel at all. Big rocks in the road and dust was the order of the day.

No one complained as we were working to make things better. A lot of work has been done to get to the present status.

To be slaughtered by these politicos, who assume that they have the high ground, is demeaning.

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rsssco 6 years, 2 months ago

Ya know Fred, there was a time when I thought you might be worth listening to on the by-pass issue. Never again. When you call your fellow neighbors and citizens terrorists, you've lost any respect I had for you and I will never again consider you someone whose opinion should be valued or considered. I must also say, that with your post you've done far more to harm Nancy, Doug, Geneva and Jack than anything that has been written on this subject to date. You've also just thrown away any chance to influence this community on the by-pass issue.

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justathought 6 years, 2 months ago

Fred, you're okay in my book, keep saying it like it is! I know you are smart enough to ignore comments from others that believe themselves self-important enough to assume they are speaking for "this community" and I am very sorry that your comments have cost you the respect of at least one republican hating environmental terrorist, but I am sure you will be able to get over it.

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sandmountain 6 years, 2 months ago

I agree with Doug, Nancy, and Fred. I've lived here my entire lilfe, and I agree that at one time the only paved road was U.S. 40. As far as lane width, it wouldln't matter to the bicylists because they would take it all. They ride the one way streets going the wrong way, and they don't stop at stop signs or stop lights. They refuse to move over for traffic behind them, especially if there is a double yellow and the car can't go around them. I agree that they should be licensed so they could at least be turned in when they violate all the laws.

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BoatMaster 6 years, 2 months ago

sandmountain

I thnk that the bikers and auto drivers should obey the rules and the laws so that everyone can get along.

I don't agree with you on the license requirement for bikes. If you saw a auto run a red light how are you going to turn that person in and give them a ticket?? You can't. You wont be able to do that to a person on a bicycle either. At least you could see the license of the auto. How would you see the license on a bike?

The state would then have to hire employees to deal with the licensing of the bicycles and maintaining the database of information etc..... So our taxes would have to go up to cover these expenses.

The soulution instead is for everyone to get along and the police should ticket both the autos that break the law and the bike riders.

Just enforce what is already in place and be friends.

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SilverSpoon 6 years, 2 months ago

Check out this: http://bicyclecolo.org/page.cfm?PageID=642 Apparently the powers that be in Central City saw value in bicycles. "Bicyclists and motorists co-exist on thousands of miles of roads across the state. We applaud Central City for encouraging healthy transportation and adding a new riding attraction to Colorado's booming bicycle tourism industry."

Banning bicycles on any roads in routt county is as realistic as a lincoln avenue bypass.

Routt county is still BFE, as much as motorists complain, the traffic is nothing compared to I25 during rush hour. And it is against the law to pass on a double yellow, even on yellow jackets pass. Although, i can see the frustration for those who chose to sprawl outside of steamboat. People who live in town can commute home, gear up, and be recreating by 5p. And the stagecoachers are only half way home by then. Soon that commute will be too expensive, and the roads will be clear for the bikers again.

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rsssco 6 years, 2 months ago

Uh oh. Does Fred Druckels know that Central City has become a haven for terrorists?

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Ted_Bell 6 years, 2 months ago

I heard a rumour that Rob Douglas and Nancy Stahoviak are both training to be cage fighters and that on the 4th of July they are going to cage fight on a float pulled by Doug Monger's farm truck for some new charity called Citizens for Entitlement of Restoration of Physical Fitness Training and Performing Arts in the R2 Public Schools, is that true? I am not sure I believe it. Such an event would need to take place on a road with very wide lanes.

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