Let's Vote committee: Growth myths

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The biggest myth: Annexing Steamboat 700 is a smart approach to manage growth, one that fits a 15-year plan for growing Steamboat. Anything less or anything else makes no sense.

No, City Council negotiated a deal that ignores the very principles of smart growth. This deal is not the smartest. There are better ways to preserve our community’s character, sustain our quality of life and protect our community’s heart and soul.

Second myth: We need a 2,000-home subdivision.

No, we have a 10- to 20-year inventory of homes, and the city’s build-out plan shows 3,100 buildable units within the city limits. Experts consider new neighborhoods with new infrastructure one of the dumbest approaches to growth. We think infill, along with density and redevelopment, are the smart ways to grow, and they create jobs for locals through local developers.

Third myth: Steamboat 700 will create sustainable jobs.

No, the economy drives jobs in our valley, not Steamboat 700. Steamboat 700 won’t build a thing until the economy can support it. When the economy can support it, local developers will be building again, too. Local developers employ locals; they don’t import contractors or workers.

Fourth myth: Those “preposterous,” “ludicrous” opponents to annexation are “no-growthers.”

No, voting against annexation is not a vote against growth or against growth west of Steamboat. It is a vote against this badly flawed agreement that only garnered a 4-3 split decision from our City Council. If City Council failed to reach agreement among itself, clearly some of our negotiators think the city did not get the most beneficial deal.

Voting against this deal means Steamboat 700 can come back and renegotiate in a year. In that year, the community and City Council have the opportunity to reassess what we want and need from an annexation, and what constitutes an agreement that is good for the city and its citizens. Voting against the annexation is not a vote against growth.

Fifth myth: Steamboat 700’s assumptions of its long-term projections are valid.

No, Steamboat 700 purchased their land in 2006 before the “Great Recession.” It declined to revise its projections after September 2008. Who thinks their pre-Great Recession financial and economic plans still are valid? Haven’t we learned that massive projects involving lots of debt often fail? Experts don’t know when, if ever, the economy will return to earlier levels of employment. Do we really want to expose ourselves to that kind of risk? We only need to look at the history of Steamboat Springs and Routt County with large projects to see where Steamboat 700 is most likely headed.

Sixth myth: Steamboat 700 is the only way our community gets the infrastructure it needs.

No, Steamboat 700 is not our only option to solve affordable housing and transportation issues in our valley. It is paying for only a share of the impacts it creates, hardly the benchmark a municipality should set for accepting an annexation petition. We think Steamboat can come up with solutions to transportation questions and homes for locals without the massive risk and minimal rewards that Steamboat 700 offers.

Let’s Vote proposes infill, density and redevelopment that fit well with our efficient SST bus system to reduce traffic congestion.

Seventh myth: We have extra water.

No, in the West, when you grow, you need to grow your water supply while ensuring current residents will still have water. Steamboat 700 brought no water rights to the city. The city exempted Steamboat 700 from its water rights dedication policy. Instead, Steamboat 700 paid $960,000 to firm water rights. Most Colorado municipalities require developers seeking annexation to bring “wet” water. The city could have required Steamboat 700 to purchase the water rights or make a payment-in-lieu equal to the duly appraised value of water in the region.

The city has granted a large favor by not requiring a dependable legal supply of water to satisfy their projected annual demand of 1,215 acre-feet and letting Steamboat 700 skate by with $960,000 and letting them tell the city how to spend it. At a very conservative estimate of $150 a year for an acre-foot of water, at $960,000 Steamboat 700 will merely pay the equivalent of six years worth of water. How is that fair to our community?

We stand for our community. Vote “no” on Referendum A.

Comments

John Fielding 4 years, 1 month ago

In the interest of continuing the discussion...

The biggest myth...smart growth. There are legitimate differences in opinion about what smart growth includes. For many this development plan does meet this definition. It is not the only possible approach but does meet the requirements we have in place.

Second myth...2000 homes. It is true we do not need them all yet, but eventually we will and according to our carefully developed plans this is where we will want them. But there is much more than just a bunch of houses proposed. Perhaps the most important part of the proposal is that it creates a new commercial core, away from Old Town and the Mountain Village, serving the surrounding homes, reducing the need to drive. This is the epitome of new urban design.

This does not mean that it is wrong to support infill as smart growth too. This is an instance in which there is more than one right answer. We will be best served to have more options and a greater diversity in the inventory. There are also some supply and demand factors that might help keep prices down.

Third myth...sustainable jobs. There will be some jobs created very soon, my bet is Native or Duckles will be able to re-hire many of the laid off locals in the early phases. At a reasonable pace those few dozen jobs will last 20 years or so. The same is true for various other trades. The jobs will not last forever, but there will be an influx of capital investment and an attendant local benefit. Annexation creates value, investors will respond to the opportunity. That is the economy driving jobs.

That's all I have time for now, Thanks for sharing.

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flyguyrye 4 years, 1 month ago

Jobs for Steamboat 700 will only go to the lowest bidder. With the state of the current economy those more likely than not wont be locals but imports from across the state

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danny 4 years, 1 month ago

The Let's Vote Committee makes several misleading and unsubstantiated statements that require some clarification and counter point. Instead of littering the anonymous "blogosphere" with our responses, we decided to posts a full rebuttal here: http://www.good4steamboat.com/growth

We hope this helps you get more informed. As always we are available via email at info@good4steamboat.com as well as by phone at 870-0244 at any time.

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jk 4 years, 1 month ago

Danny, So with your huge budget to push this thing through you couldn't afford some ( or maybe another?) professional writer/blogger to spew your propaganda? Is it costing you that much to finance the ads and stories in our fine "unbiased" local paper??

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mojo 4 years, 1 month ago

I would like to know how many of those who oppose Steamboat 700 already own a home in Steamboat. I am serious here. You have your spot! Many of us just want to live here (I mean in Steamboat) and raise families! Many of us are teachers, laborers, nurses, professionals, etc. who are seeking attainable (not deed restricted) housing! The housing needs assessment basically said that the stock of housing (1 and 2 bedroom condos) does not/will not suit the needs of the community. Steamboat 700 is a good plan for controlled growth. This is what we asked for when WSAAP was approved and revised in 2005/2006. Steamboat 700 brought us what we asked for. Now we turn our backs. Did we think it would never happen? To ignore all this planning for the future and get sidetracked by fear and negativity is very disheartening! The economy will recover, our community will grow and additional housing will be needed.

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Scott Wedel 4 years, 1 month ago

Danny, your "rebuttals" are an embarrassment.

You honesty cannot tell the difference between averaging 1,500 houses SOLD a year from 1998 to 2008 vs BUILT?

So, by your own statistics, there was DEMAND for 400 houses locally last year?

You complain about misinformation and put out crap like that?

Mojo, You are delusional if you think SB 700 is going to provide you with an affordable house. They just wait a few years as long established trends continue (ie wealthy people like resort housing) and these 120% of AMI numbers will be higher than what the market supports anyway.

I would love the promises of SB 700 to become reality. The promises are cynical attempts to sell a project (see "rebuttals" above).

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danny 4 years, 1 month ago

jk- I am perectly capable of writing what I need written and I don't have any need to hide who I am, who our supporters are, or who we have hired. I am not afraid of being accountable for my statements and i take responsibility for any and all statements made on the behalf of Steamboat 700.

If you believe in your position and that your intentions are honorable then why do you hide who you are?

And by the way the lets vote "no" committee has spent more on Pilot advertising then we have.

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John Fielding 4 years, 1 month ago

Danny-

When the responses are jeers and insults, take it as a compliment. It is probably because reason and logic are not adequate to the task. Your rebuttal was well written and to the point.

Thank you for trying to keep the debate respectful, it must be challenging to do so.

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jk 4 years, 1 month ago

danny, 1st- You dance around the major questions of reality and choose to point out my comments.

2nd- I figure since you "spent" less than the let's vote crew your buddy Brent must have given you a great deal!!

3rd- I have no piece in this pie like you do. My anonymity has no relevance in this battle. I speak from the heart as a citizen of Steamboat Springs, where you speak as a person that has Millions to lose or gain!!

And finally- If you have written everything thus far maybe you should not have strayed from your novelistic skills.

ps- John his rebuttal, on his website as stated before, was mostly nonsence.

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Scott Wedel 4 years, 1 month ago

So Danny, you post after I point out that your rebuttals confuse sales with construction and thus, by your own arguments, SB 700 says there was demand for 400 houses in 2009 and you do not dispute that?

Okay.

But if that is how you are going to distort information to make your arguments then it is really amazing that you complain about being the victim of misinformation.

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John Fielding 4 years, 1 month ago

windel

I think everyone's opinion matters, even yours and mine. We don't have to be experts.

I have no vested interest in 700, nor in the bypass proposal I have helped promote. I do it because I honestly think this community will be better for it.

That does qualify me as something like stupid in the opinions of some people whose opinions I hold in high regard, and I certainly agree sometimes when I endure abuse for it.

Still, I think I am doing the right thing. I believe you also act from honorable motivations, and I respect you for that. We are fortunate that so many of us really care about our community, even if we disagree on the best way forward.

Thank you for being a part of the discussion.

PS, I am not John F Jr, I don't know who you were referring to online.

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danny 4 years, 1 month ago

scott- I don't see where I spoke of 400 units of new construction demand; I am merely pointing out that there is not 20 years of built inventory. That even in down markets there has been a thousand traded.

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Scott Wedel 4 years, 1 month ago

Danny, Your rebuttal spoke of "demand" from 1998-2008 which was not construction, but units sold. Thus, apparently you think units sold is "demand". Thus, in 2009 in which about 400 units sold in the county then, by your measure, that was the "demand" for housing in 2009 even though new construction was limited to a few dozen, the number of local jobs shrank by about 1,000 and many more people left the valley than moved here. It is a novel argument to suggest that 2009 had "demand" for about 400 homes.

"That even in down markets there has been a thousand traded." ?????

What in the world is that phrase supposed to mean? Is that supposed to mean that things are not that bad? Because to get to "a thousand" then you must be counting 2008 sales. 2009 and so far in 2010 is a disaster. Sales for every month is not just less than any month from 1998-2008, but it is like half of any prior month.

An important number to look at a real estate market is to calculate months of supply which is total number of listing divided by a month's worth of sales. Reasonable numbers are from 3 to 10 months. The longer the worse. We are at about 50 months. If no new listing came on the market then it would still take 4 years to sell the current inventory.

But apparently you are such an arrogant source of misinformation that you have the nerve to say "That even in down markets there has been a thousand traded.".

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homegrown 4 years, 1 month ago

The people from the lets vote committee should answer mojo's question about homeownership as well as land ownership. A lot of the names in the support list seem to have been around a while and I'm just wondering how self centered your arguments actually are.

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housepoor 4 years, 1 month ago

So their growth projections are based on units sold??? LOL Take Sunray Meadows,, it sold to realtors before they even hit the market, then sold again, some on the same day the realtor closed they had another buyer lined up. I wouldn't be surprised if some units have been sold 4-5 times in a 3 year period, now they will be sold again by the bank. Sounds a little like the Vegas real estate market doesn't it? These are the growth #'s you are using???
Does City planning and council use the same #'s?

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Richard Levy 4 years, 1 month ago

While Community Alliance members may be working with Let's vote, our organization has not spent one penny nor used any of its resources to support Let's Vote.

The website good4steamboat has posted a blatant lie....

"FACT The leaders and the primary contributors to Let's Vote are “anti- growth”, even though all their names have not been publicly disclosed. The “Lets Vote” group is made up primarily of the anti growth faction of the Community Alliance. The Community Alliance did all the organizing, supplied most of their money, wrote the petition, created their messaging and advertising, and their letters to the paper; they have just allowed a couple of new faces to be their figureheads. The supporters, investors, and contributors of Good For Steamboat are all public information."

Its statements like this that put all developers in a poor light (yes there are some good ones).

Again, I swear that the Community Alliance is not involved with Let's Vote or any organized effort to influence the upcoming vote. Danny Mulcahy, Steamboat 700 and Good4steamboat should be ashamed of themselves for such dirty tactics.

Richard Levy, VP CAYV

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Scott Wedel 4 years, 1 month ago

The idea that a person's home ownership somehow affects whether they are for or against SB 700 is a complete red herring.

Am I against SB 700 because I think it will hurt my property value. Absolutely not. These sort of annexations do not hurt property values of homes that are closer to downtown. Heritage Park and Silver Spur did not ruin valuations in SB II. In fact, being cheaper than the newer neighbors probably pulled up values in SB II.

I am against SB 700 because I think the project is going to turn out far differently than promised. It will not provide 2,000 units for locals, but will be marketed to people looking to move to any resort and will thus bring the exact wrong type of growth here. If the City is able to figure out affordable housing then a few dozen deed restricted affordable units may be constructed.

I moved to SB, not because I was trying to maximize my income, but because it is a great resort town.

I am opposed to SB 700 because I think it will seriously damage what makes SB an enjoyable place to live.

I would be willing to allow SB 700 to build a couple hundred units according to the existing plan because then the expected damage would be minimal. And if they somehow lived up to their promises of wonderful things then they'd have no problems annexing more to build a few hundred more units.

I think SB 700 made it an all or nothing annexation is because they know they are going to use the annexation agreement to their favor and become so unpopular that they could never get another annexation approved.

If you think you are going to do a nice job then first you get some part approved so that the next phase can fly through the system. The cabins at the Riverbend had a tough time getting initial approvals. And such a nice job was done there that the next round of cabins got approved quite easily.

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TWill 4 years, 1 month ago

Mojo-

If you presently have a job that will qualify you for a loan and support home ownership, then I suggest you start paying attantion to opportunities you have right now in Steamboat. There are deals all over the place that are available to you today (not just condos either- look at West End Village, Steamboat II, Heritage Park, Stagecoach, just to name a few) I assure you, if you're a real-deal buyer, sellers will negotiate.

If you don't have a job that will qualify you for a loan and support home ownership, then you should be supporting industry and/ or job opportunity in the valley before you worry about housing. (something about the cart before the horse...)

Don't put your faith in a questionable and unproven developer (from Las Vegas of all places), that "promises" to provide a product (affordable housing) that the numbers just don't support. Remember, its danny and the rest of the SB700 bunch that have millions to make or lose, not the community.

If you want affordable housing, open your eyes and capitalize on present opportunites that are right here, right now. Or you could strategically wait it out a little bit if you want, prices are hardly going up. You don't need SB700 for affordable options if you're a qualified buyer. Save yourself the disappointment- don't just sit in the back seat and wait for a product that will never be delivered.

VOTE NO on SB700!

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danny 4 years, 1 month ago

Steamboatrich- I just spoke to Jack White and corrected the paragraph- and thank you for readily admitting CA members have been supporting the "Let's Vote" group.

I deleted all reference to the Community Alliances responsibility on the website but it could easily been re-written as follows:

(The Community Alliance did)-Delete. "former members and supporters of the CA are responsible for most of the organizing, supplying most of their money, wrote the petition, created their messaging and advertising, and their letters to the paper; they have just allowed a couple of new faces to be their figureheads. The supporters, investors, and contributors of Good For Steamboat are all public information."

The sentence prior to the above quote states "…the anti-growth faction of the Community Alliance..", it was never intended to say the Community Alliance was doing this or that but rather the anti growth faction of that organization. The entire paragraph was refuting the claim that the “Let’s vote" group is not "no-growthers" when in fact a significant number of them are and have demonstrated so while they were either members or supporters of the Community Alliance; even if they talk under the guise of "smart growth".

I acknowledge as an organization the Community Alliance has chosen neither to support nor challenge the annexation; as their membership is divided on the matter.

This wasn't dirty tactics but rather a poorly written section. I take responsibility for our errors and apologize.

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danny 4 years, 1 month ago

Scott- where do you keep coming up with the 400 units of new demand? I have not made that statement. To be more clear there were 1077 sales in 2008 and 1064 sales in 2009. You actually have made my argument for me: "We are at about 50 months. If no new listing came on the market then it would still take 4 years to sell the current inventory." Even in a perfect world Sb700 is 3 years from having the first house built.
I never said there was demand for new inventory but rather we do not have 20 years of built supply as the "let's vote" group contends.

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Scott Wedel 4 years, 1 month ago

Danny, So you change the section from an outright lie to a guilt by association charge. Are you trying to prove how scummy you can be? The Community Alliance has taken no stand and spent none of their resources on this campaign, but you invoke them because you think that will get you a few votes? What is so despicable about your invocation of the CA is that it is asking the voter to not think about the important issues, but to consider the sort of person active you claim to be active in Let's Vote when casting your ballot.

What else can be said of associations of Let's Vote supporters?

There are US Veterans active in this Let's Vote group. There are liberals in Let's Vote. There are independents in Let's Vote. There are conservatives in Let's Vote. There are SB citizens in Let's Vote. There are Routt County citizens in Let's Vote.

Well, isn't that the most despicable group ever? Just about everyone I dislike is part of that group so Danny has changed my mind. I'm going with my fears, hates and turning to join the Dark Lord Danny to now make sure the immoral Las Vegas Developer's win the day!

Did you know that SB City affordable housing will receive so much money from SB 700 that they will be able to build affordable housing here there and everywhere via a self sustaining buy and build program?

Did you know that SB 700 will advertise the availability of housing units locally? That proves how they are committed towards providing housing for locals.

Oh no, it is Princess Cindy Constatine and she is in my head telling me that all of the people I love are also represented by the supporters of Let's Vote, ... I must not fail Dark Lord Danny, money is the power. $70,000 donations ... oh no it is Steve Lewis invading my thoughts telling me to look at the agreement, think of the agreement, even he doubts that affordable housing plan ... Dark Lord, the money, the power, the lies ... So many conflicting thoughts. Clarity, one thought: SB is too great a place to allow one massive 30 year annexation.

I'm back. That was a scary trip.

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Scott Wedel 4 years, 1 month ago

Danny, First, where did you get 1064 for 2009. Routt County says there were 706 and they count every transfer of a lot as a transaction. So a house on 5 stagecoach lots to get needed minimum size counts as 5 transactions to the county. So real number is less than 706.

You posted sales numbers from 1998-2008 as representing demand.

2009 was represented in some other article as having 400 some sales of single family homes/condos. That is where I got that number.

To accept that I made your argument of 50 months supply when you don't plan on starting for a few years ALSO REQUIRES THAT YOU BELIEVE THAT NO NEW LISTINGS WILL OCCUR IN THE NEXT 4 YEARS!!!!

So to claim I made your point shows ignorance, if not outright lying.

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cindy constantine 4 years, 1 month ago

Scott,

A PRINCESS!!! My, my I am flattered!!! LOL : )
(I got the sarcasm, BTW)

Danny,
Despite the fact I am against this annexation for many reasons, I would love to help you with a new plan it this one is not accepted. Having been in your shoes in a previous life, I feel your pain.

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mojo 4 years, 1 month ago

@ TWill, we moved to Steamboat 10 years ago to live in Steamboat, not Stagecoach, etc. We value the amenities that this community has to offer (we use the parks, we bike to work, hike/bike all the beautiful trails, and like having our friends and neighbors nearby) and we will continue to make that a priority as we look to our future. We both have good jobs and wish to start a family (not tomorrow, but in the future) and are trying to plan appropriately. My point was to acknowledge the fact that our current stock of housing can't possibly suit the community we all envision 5, 10, 20 years from now.

@Scott Wedel, we may or may not live in 700, we don’t know? My point was that additional housing will help the future of this community, to house those who teach our children, those who take care of our homes, the sick, the elderly, those who service the tourists, serve our food, stock our grocery shelves, etc. Isn’t that what makes a community a community? If we do not plan for that, I believe we lose sight of that community character that we all hold so dear. I think we would all agree that our worst fear is that we become another Vail or Aspen but to wait, or hope something better comes along just doesn’t seem like a good plan. Also, I do not appreciate being called delusional. I am hopeful, but not delusional.

It’s enlightening to hear how passionate we all are about this issue and it’s pretty apparent we all care about the direction of our community, we just have different perspectives on what route we should take. Thank you for the conversation!

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lowclasslocal 4 years, 1 month ago

If Steamboat needs so much housing inventory, why are the real estate ads taking up half of the newspaper, while the help wanted ads are the tiniest in many folks memory? SB 700 committed their chips to this project in 2006??? Think how the country has changed. Think about how Steamboat has changed! If you committed to real estate in almost every market in 2006, I'd bet you are upside down if you still have it. 700 bought and made the gamble in another economic era, don't let them sell you on it in todays. If the pilot paper had any journalistic integrity they would publish danny's lies and corrections after being caught in a lie in the hardcopy. There just isn't the need for all that housing out west. If you think you are getting financed right now as a teacher or a laborer for a house, it is a sad realization that it isn't happening. Nobody's getting loans- look at Intrawest!!!! noone wants risk on their books right now.

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jk 4 years, 1 month ago

mojo, If you no longer want to be classified as delusional then maybe you should take Twills advice and start searching for a home! If you can get the funding and support buying a home here then keep your eyes peeled. By all means don't wait for the 700 pipe dream to become a reality and burden yourself with paying for someone else's mistake! The dream of affordable housing there might get you a nice little apartment with 400 of your soon to be "closest" friends.

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John Fielding 4 years, 1 month ago

Scott- There is a certain irony in the linkage of two statements from your comment from 10:38 this morning.

"It will not provide 2,000 units for locals, but will be marketed to people looking to move to any resort and will thus bring the exact wrong type of growth here....

I moved to SB, not because I was trying to maximize my income, but because it is a great resort town."

Those people looking to move to any resort will become locals, just like you and I and most of the people who live here now. Steamboats history has almost always been that growth by immigration far exceeds growth from those born here (to immigrant parents).

I believe the community is a better place for having you here. I have read a bunch of your stuff, don't always agree but I'm glad you're out there making your points. I like to think I have helped make this a better place too, my friends tell me so to make me feel better. I was welcomed here, you probably were too. That is another great local tradition.

There may well be problems in the course of developing 700, but its got a good plan and we can work through whatever comes up. Its better to get started, these things take a while to get rolling. And again, lets start with the grocery store and some mixed use space for everything from hair salons to karate dojos. Get the new thing going.

I have a lot of optimism for the future even though right now its as tough for me as ever in my life and there have been some tough times before for sure. Put all my money and spare time into a real rundown fixer upper downtown, and its coming along OK but I can't touch the equity, just taking in roomies to make ends meet. Hanging in there.

So vote yes, lets hope the new locals will be as good as what we've been getting. Heck half of them probably live here or Moffat county already. Lets give 'em a real friendly welcome.

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CedarBeauregard 4 years, 1 month ago

Awesome post George. Your vision is spot on.. Please send it to the editor in the form of a letter.

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mmjPatient22 4 years, 1 month ago

George- 2 questions. 1. How many books do you have? 2. Why not more and if none, why not?

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Scott Wedel 4 years, 1 month ago

What will be done to hwy 40/Lincoln is adding lanes from 13th to 129 and synchronizing the lights from Walton Creek to 129, Probably remove or move some lights downtown so that the synchronized lights allow traffic to flow better.

Then Lincoln will be changed to no parking or the center lane will not allow left turns, but will become a reversible extra lane or Oak will become the preferred route for westbound (Lincoln might have a single westbound lane and lights are synchronized for eastbound) and so on.

A bypass is never going to be built because far too much of the traffic starts or ends downtown for a bypass to be the solution. Also, the traffic here is nothing compared to any where along the Front Range or other urban areas and no one is going to give SB millions to construct a bypass to help a handful of rich people in a resort town avoid a few minutes of traffic.

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John Fielding 4 years, 1 month ago

George- It's not easy being me, but thanks for trying. I have tried sharing your visions as well.

What you wrote before you snapped out of it was optimistic, some would say to the point of being unrealistic. What you wrote afterward was dismally pessimistic, but realistic if nothing changes. Thankfully, change is inevitable.

Sadly, any solution requires sacrifice, of park space, of money, of ideals. That is why your vision will be more likely to come to pass. When it finally gets so bad people are ready to do anything the solution will be the quickest, cheapest way out, then its goodbye to lower Howelson and Brooklyn, the Steamboat spring, the Art Depot, who knows how bad it will be, nothing will be sacred.

700 has nothing to do with this problem, it's here now and will continue regardless of whether the growth is within city limits or in the new 5 acre lots op Elk River road, or anywhere. For many opponents, it has really been about using this issue to oppose growth, or try to get new development to become a non profit social engineering tool.

We will probably have passed on by then, so why should we care? Oh yeah, our kids.

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John Fielding 4 years, 1 month ago

Scott-

You are probably right, the easiest thing is to give up Main Street. There won't be as much resistance when most of the businesses have moved or gone under. Funny but the more traffic, the fewer people stop to shop, except to buy gas.

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Scott Wedel 4 years, 1 month ago

John, I am not sure why that is giving up on Main St. Highly synchronized lights are good for peds (cause then streets can be jaywalked with ease). A single low speed westbound lane is perfect for shoppers.

And downtown as the prime shopping and restaurant real estate is not going away. There is just not the tourism to justify the rents so that will cause vacancies. Once rents decrease then we will see a whole new set of downtown businesses.

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John Fielding 4 years, 1 month ago

The reason I see it as giving up Main Street is that no matter how smoothly the traffic goes it remains unpleasant for pedestrians ...noise, smoke, the sense of being crowded. Double the volume in 20-30 years orf less.

Imagine instead diagonal parking, 10 mph speed limit, mid block crosswalks, sort of like Frisco. All the traffic that's not for downtown elsewhere. And it would go eleswhere if it was that slow to go through town.

If we made the parkway a toll road, (2 free trips a day, cheap monthly passes), it could even be paid for by the users (what a concept) who would consider the fee preferable for the convenience.

If we want it we can make it happen.

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Scott Wedel 4 years, 1 month ago

John, We do not want it and it will not happen.

First and foremost, unlike Frisco, virtually all of the traffic in SB either starts or ends the trip in SB. A whole lot of the traffic in Frisco started elsewhere and is going to some place further down the highway. And then something like half of Lincoln traffic turns on or off Lincoln as they pass through downtown. So the traffic issue in SB is not the sort of problem easily fixed via a bypass.

Second, the geography here prevents a low impact route for a bypass. The potential routes are environmental or political nightmares.

Seems to me that is a pretty fatal one-two punch.

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John Fielding 4 years, 1 month ago

Scott,

We is a term that is bigger than you and me. Ultimately we is the electorate, voting for what they think will make their life and their children's future better.

When you say virtually all the traffic starts or ends in SB do you mean city limits or greater Steamboat including SB II, Strawberry Park, Treehaus, and the like?

The real bottleneck is 13th to 3rd, as Tamarack, SB Boulevard and River Road are not viable traffic corridors.

There are times, mostly in the evening when something like half the traffic is for downtown. But common sense and simple observation conclude that most of the day most of the traffic passes through, and a great many would rather go around if there was a decent option.

And I agree we have no low impact solution. That is why we are still talking about it instead of having fixed it already. But doing nothing is a political and environmental nightmare too. In time I expect we will trade the ongoing nightmare for one that has an end in sight.

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Scott Wedel 4 years, 1 month ago

You appear to state that the problem during the day is that it takes too long to get through downtown. The synchronized lights have definitely reduced that problem. If that is still considered a major problem then it would be far easier to get the political will to move some lights to different streets to further optimize the synchronization that to build a bypass.

And I don't think the current situation is a nightmare except at evening rush hour from 13th to 129. During the day I consistently am able to drive through downtown missing only one or two lights. That is not a nightmare to me.

Personally, I am more annoyed when I miss the light at the transit center, or miss lights at Hilltop, Anglers and then Pine Grove. If those lights are synchronized then I have not figured out what speed you are supposed to drive to make the lights..

Because there is no acceptable route for a bypass that means when the volume of traffic is too much for Lincoln then Oak will be used for westbound. Oak works because it can pick the traffic up at 3rd and rejoin at 13th.

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John Fielding 4 years, 1 month ago

Scott,

Oak only goes to 12th.

You make a good point form the perspective of a driver. I too find the traffic does not usually unduly inconvenience me, I've had to deal with much worse. But that's not the point I'm trying to make. Having all that traffic flowing through downtown, even smoothly, degrades the quality for those who do not just drive through.

I used to yield to pedestrians pretty much anytime, anywhere. Now I am less likely to do so as I don't want to back up traffic behind me. A small thing perhaps, but it impacts the friendly factor.

Oak does get used a lot to avoid Lincoln. But it is higher on the unacceptable list for a real bypass than some others due to high impact on a densely developed area.

Here is one you don't hear mentioned often but is more acceptable to many than my preferred option. An elevated roadway directly above the railroad tracks. Its also a little pricey, and there is the Union Pacific to deal with, but it has some merit. I'm sure someone will list the disadvantages for us. Better yet. move the railroad to behind Emerald and use that perfect grade. This has been suggested in all seriousness, I don't know if the cost has been estimated.

No it won't be easy, but I think the improvement to Main Street alone makes it worthwhile. Getting rid of the traffic jams is a fringe benefit.

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Scott Wedel 4 years, 1 month ago

John, The railroad is not an acceptable right of way because that would have a huge impact upon the ability to enjoy the river and it'd be a huge visual impact at Howelson.

An Oak bypass would be one way with 2 westbound lanes presumably taking some out of the post office and 3rd/Oak parking lots so that the turns would be easier. As well as probably using eminent domain to take slices out at 12th to straighten out that turn.

Oak St already has many commercial offices. By the time that traffic volume requires using Oak St then there will only be a couple of residences left and many of what are now converted houses will be rebuilt as larger commercial buildings.

Businesses and commercial property owners love the idea of 25 mph traffic driving in front of their property. You are not going to sell Lincoln Ave property owners on the importance of removing vehicle trips until the traffic jams get so bad that people stop going to downtown because it is too hard to get there. That is a long ways off.

Oak is even pretty far off. It is amazing how much more traffic a properly synchronized set of traffic lights can allow to travel on a roadway. Lincoln right now is far from realizing the full potential. It'd flow a lot better by removing a light or two and one could be added at probably 11th. And synchronizing them from Walton Creek to 129 would be a huge time saver.

(I love that street through the Sunset district in SF (50th Ave?) that is synchronized at 35 mph for 20+ blocks. It never fails that there is some other car that goes too fast, misses the light by a few seconds and does that for all 20 blocks. Allows to give me commentary of "3 times, will they learn? No, 4 times." and so on. It never fails to make me laugh.)

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John Fielding 4 years, 1 month ago

George

Your suggestion for elevating the rail line is defiantly an improvement. It takes me back a little to hear you agree though, you are serious I trust. But lets not limit it to heavy vehicles, the whole point is to allow our downtown core (including Oak street) to be relieved of though traffic and regain some of its former ambiance. I believe it would result in an increase in activity and be one of the things about our town that people remember and return to appreciate again and again. I can't seem to get Scott to see that point, anything you can add?

I do try to be realistic as well as idealistic, but practicality wins out most of the time. I don't care if our traffic solution is not my favorite option, just something that really works.

Please thank Patty for the compliment, I'm trying to make it nice, much extra work though when the budget requires use of a lot of salvaged materials, and living in it the whole time too. But boy are we ever green! The solar heating system just started up this week with the recycled windows in place, 4 years since the foundation for it was laid. Got a lot of years to go till it's done.

Have you seen the "ski mountain" landscape sculpture on the corner? It's been the most fun thing lately, hope to have it all in marble chips by summer, then 2 types of drought tolerant bunch grasses to represent trees. I had to take out the original flowers when the water rates went up.

Thanks again George, really. I'd sure like to work together, that's what will keep our town as great as it's been in the past. It's all about the people, our town is us.

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cindy constantine 4 years, 1 month ago

George, Do you think JF got your sarcasm or is he as clueless as I am beginning to think he is. Thanks to your and Patty's "walk" I now know he is a close neighbor of mine. I really loved the goat. Sometimes this blog just makes me fall off my chair from laughing so hard. Never try and take myself too seriously . . . hope everyone else has the same MO.

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John Fielding 4 years, 1 month ago

Dear Cindy,

Of course I recognized the nature of Georges comment as including humor, but his scenario is not to be disregarded because of a little personal ribbing. I certainly hope to not take myself too seriously either.

No George is spot on in his observation of the possibilities and due to the nature of his position in our State transportation administration it would be inappropriate not to accord his opinion due respect. I have met him at a number of events and take him very seriously as an intelligent and dedicated individual. When he proposes solutions it is likely they are valid.

Stop by and say hi sometime now that spring is in the air. The little goat is gone but there are new faces (and tails) in the menagerie. And I do believe it when I say it's all about the people, our town is us.

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Scott Wedel 4 years, 1 month ago

Actually, the ideal solution would be copy what has been done in Paris. They have a tunnel bypass that not only goes under the river, but connects to a massive underground parking garage.

Think of that here? It would fix traffic, parking and snow removal! It could have off-shoots to howelson and the high school so all that traffic wouldn't be seen.

Might cost a few dollars and so might have to wait until the economy picks up and the city collects some more sales tax.

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John Fielding 4 years, 1 month ago

That a great idea, but maybe we don't have to wait. The tool we need is right over at the mine, maybe if coal sales are off a little we could borrow it.

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housepoor 4 years, 1 month ago

MONORAIL!! ...... I’m sure ole Danny boy would be than happy to pony up a few more bucks? ………….I believe they have one in Vegas

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John Fielding 4 years, 1 month ago

I took a fresh look at all today, and it reminded me why its so hard. I went up 20 mile, Mt Werner Rd to River Road, Hilltop Parkway, Howelson Parkway, Yampa Street, Oak Street.

There is one route that clearly is the easiest and most efficient. It is so obvious that some of our former City Council ordered it never be discussed again, too afraid it might happen I guess.

It's Yampa St. of course, only one cross street, easy connection, no bridges at each end of town, it's perfect. Problems of course is we have higher aspirations for that avenue and it would mess up the parks at 12th and 13th.

And I agree, it's too valuable to tamper with, as is Oak Street, as is Howleson Parkway and River Road. A tunnel really is the best option. Other than the price .

Well I'm glad this issue got discussed again, nothing new really, but it was good to get it all out there.

Lets do this again next year, and the year after and... oh well.

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John Fielding 4 years, 1 month ago

In case anyone did not read this whole article last week.

CMC won’t change location in Steamboat Officials decide against relocating college campus

By Jack Weinstein Wednesday, February 24, 2010

......."The first step in building the new facility is constructing the access road, which could happen late this summer, CMC Facilities Director Sam Skramstad said. He said two locations have been identified, from 13th Street and Lincoln Avenue and Crawford Avenue from 12th Street. Skramstad said 13th and Lincoln was the preference but that both options would affect residents".......

That's it! If they build from 13th st we no longer have a bottleneck, as technically speaking it exists only from 13th to 12th. One could drive up to campus on the new road, then down Bob Adams, (or vice versa) thus two routes will exist.

Won't do much to solve traffic issues, but we'll have to find a new name for it.

Will funding 25% of it satisfy the 700 requirement?

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