Photo by John F. Russell
Cyclist Tom Dougan rides his bike along Routt County Road 14 on Monday. The Routt County Board of Commissioners held a meeting Monday evening to discuss the shared use of county roads.
Steamboat Springs The question of how best to share Routt County's roads - an issue discussed at length by the Routt County Board of Commissioners and bicyclists Monday night - will be sent to a varied group of users for advisement.
About 40 residents, most of whom identified themselves as members of Routt County Riders bicycle club, shared views and priorities with the commissioners and Road and Bridge Director Paul Draper during the second of two public discussions about how best to use and maintain the roadways of Routt County.
Near the end of the two-hour meeting, the commissioners said they want to form a "multi-modal group" of representatives of several different user groups to discuss the same issues tackled during the meeting and the previous discussion June 29.
"I think it needs to be a broad-based group because if we have a broad-based group, the first thing they can do is educate each other and come to an understanding of what the perceptions are out there," Commissioner Nancy Stahoviak said. "I think everybody needs to be a part of the solution."
That should include representatives from construction companies that operate large trucks, bicyclists, pedestrians, agricultural groups and residents who primarily use the roads for driving their cars, commissioners said.
Commissioner Diane Mitsch Bush said she wants to see a list of interested committee participants within the next couple weeks, after which the group could begin meeting with Draper. Stahoviak said she ultimately wants the commissioners to create a set of policies to direct road maintenance and reconstruction.
Among the items discussed was how often the county would sweep county roads of debris, how wide road surfaces should be after they are rebuilt, and the role of signs and public education.
Draper said the cost of sweeping the shoulders of 11 county roads for riders, including the popular cycling roads of River Road and Routt County Road 36, would cost the county $12,431 per sweeping. The commissioners said they support sweeping those roads at least once a year - more if needed - to allow cyclists to ride farther to the right side of the road.
That should also allow more room on the road for motorists, they said.
The registration of bicycles, also discussed at the first meeting, was roundly discounted as ineffective and pointless. Draper said other municipalities require bicycle registration for theft recovery or for code enforcement with parking, but the idea of using registration fees to raise funds for road repair would be ineffective.
By the time the administrative costs of registering, processing and managing the bicycles was complete, he said, little revenue would remain.
After the meeting, Routt County Riders President Robin Craigen said he was pleased by the outcome of the meeting.
"I would say we're really encouraged by the tone of the debate and the forward thinking of the group," he said.
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