Our View: Back-in parking plan a good step

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Steamboat Today editorial board — June to December 2013

  • Suzanne Schlicht, COO and publisher
  • Lisa Schlichtman, editor
  • Tom Ross, reporter
  • David Baldinger Jr., community representative
  • Lisa Brown, community representative

Contact the editorial board at 970-871-4221 or editor@SteamboatToday.com. Would you like to be a member of the board? Fill out a letter of interest now.

We’re intrigued with the city of Steamboat Springs’ plan to try to improve bicycle and pedestrian safety on Yampa Street. City staff has proposed creating an area where motorists will be asked to back into diagonal parking spaces rather than pulling forward. The plan would add 21 new spaces to downtown parking inventory simply by replacing inefficient parallel parking spaces with diagonal spaces.

The back-in parking plan comes forward at a time when more people are enjoying the growing restaurant district along the Yampa River. Business advocates in the area are looking at ways to fund a new pedestrian walkway where cyclists, people on foot and cars mix in a high-demand area lacking permanent sidewalks.

Already the city has lowered the speed limit on Yampa Street to 15 miles per hour. The new parking proposal is intended to give drivers a better view of approaching pedestrians and cyclists before pulling out of a parking spot.

Pulling into one of the new parking spaces would be similar to parallel parking, only easier. Motorists would pull slowly beyond their intended parking space, signal a right turn and back into their spot.

Steamboat Today reader John St. Pierre commented this week that the town of Frisco in Summit County has utilized this system for several decades. And the back-in parking system already works efficiently in larger cities like Columbia, Mo., and Austin, Texas.

Public Works Director Chuck Anderson told the Steamboat Springs City Council that public education will be a challenge and we agree. We fully expect that some drivers encountering the new parking spaces will pull in front-bumper-first. But it won’t be long before everyone catches on. We successfully implemented traffic roundabouts, didn’t we?

Long-term, we believe the city should be open to testing several plans that could improve downtown parking, including parking meters and promotion of remote parking such as the Steamboat Springs Transit Center and Howelsen Hill.

A parking plan that promotes safety, encourages frequent turnover of spaces and makes it easy for people to choose alternative transportation is critical to the vibrancy of downtown Steamboat Springs. We think the back-in parking plan on Yampa Street is a good step and we look forward to similar initiatives in the future.

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Comments

Scott Wedel 1 year, 2 months ago

Roundabouts are common worldwide for decades so they are not new for tourists and locals figured them out quickly enough.

I just did a google maps tour of Main St in Frisco Colorado and I did not see any back in parking on any park of the street. There are many pull in parking spots. Frisco may have a street with back in parking, but it is not Main St.

Most people will probably do it right without much problem, but I expect there will consistently be some that use it as pull in parking from the opposite lane.

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Michael Bird 1 year, 2 months ago

To repeat what I said in an earlier post, will the City add larger parking spots (plural) for handicapped parking as there is a woeful lack at this time on or near Yampa. And why aren't there sidewalks so that people can walk or move wheelchairs safely ? We have an Oak St small building and had to install a sidewalk at our expense, which we were glad to do as it aids everyone. No City $$$ is needed to install sidewalks.

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