If you go
What: City of Steamboat Springs' demonstration of the new yield-to-bus law
When: 1 p.m. Monday
Where: Stock Bridge Transit Center, 1505 Lincoln Ave.
Call: Public Works Director Philo Shelton at 871-8204 or Transit Operations Manager Jonathan Flint at 879-3717 for more information
Steamboat Springs The city of Steamboat Springs will provide a demonstration Monday of a new state law that will aid city buses trying to re-enter traffic from a bus stop and also change the way traffic flows through Steamboat Springs, particularly downtown.
House Bill 1027 requires drivers to yield to transit buses re-entering traffic from a bus stop when the bus signals its intention and illuminates a yellow "yield" sign on the back of the bus. The law is scheduled to go into effect Tuesday. Current law requires only vehicles entering a roadway, not those already in the roadway, to yield to buses.
Public Works Director Philo Shelton said the Colorado State Patrol will be on hand Monday to help explain how the law works. Steamboat Springs Police Capt. Joel Rae said there has been "mirror slapping" and other accidents in the city between vehicles and city buses re-entering traffic, particularly on Lincoln Avenue in Old Town.
Rae said he has yet to receive a fine schedule for violations, but he assumes it will carry a fine of $15 to $100 and count for two points against a person's license.
"It's not effective to have a bus sitting there at 5 p.m. unable to get back in traffic," Rae said.
Rep. Joe Rice and Sen. Dan Gibbs sponsored the bill on behalf of the Colorado Association of Transit Agencies. The bill was suggested by Shelton, a CASTA board member.
Shelton said traffic studies conducted on Lincoln Avenue last year revealed that a yield-to-bus law could help relieve congestion in downtown Steamboat. Similar laws have been adopted in other states and Europe.
During periods of heavy traffic, Shelton said buses on Lincoln Avenue have difficulty re-entering traffic after pulling over to drop off and pick up passengers at stops. To maintain frequency, the city has added a bus to its main line in recent years, Shelton said.
"When you have your bus route, maintaining the schedule is very important," Shelton said.
Transit Operations Manager Jonathan Flint said the amount of time it takes buses to reenter traffic has been the one factor Steamboat Springs Transit has been unable to account for when determining its routes and schedule.
House Bill 1027 passed unanimously in the Colorado House of Representatives. It passed, 23-12, in the Senate. Gubernatorial hopeful Sen. Josh Penry, R-Grand Junction, voted against the bill. He did not return a phone message Friday.
At a cost of $2,000 each, the city has installed and wired illuminated yield signs on 13 city buses and four regional buses. The city is "working diligently to get signs on all" buses, according to a city news release.