What’s good for kids is good for the rest of us and good for our visitors. I am voting “yes” for Referendum 2A because I would like to see safer trail connections throughout our trail system within town. I have been the volunteer coordinator of Steamboat Spring’s Safe Routes to School program for the past nine years. We have some great stretches of trail and bike routes to get from one part of town to another, but many of them include some not-so-great street crossings or portions that are very unsafe.
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Every spring and fall for the past nine years, excepting this fall, we have designated one day each week as Hike & Bike to School day. Steamboat’s safety officers and volunteer patrols come out to help with dangerous crossings, the buses drop the kids off at an earlier stop so bus riders can enjoy walking the Butcherknife Trail to school and parents organize neighborhood groups to ride bikes to school together. It’s healthy, it gets cars off the road during the busiest time of day, kids’ brains are stimulated so they are better prepared to learn and it’s fun for kids and parents alike.
However, this only happens once per week when we rally the safety officers and patrols to cover the sections that parents think are too dangerous for kids to ride on their own. I look forward to the day when our through-town trail system is complete with no scary sections along the shoulder of a busy road, with crossing lights at intersections and when parents feel good about their kids riding or walking to school. The funds raised from 2A will make this a reality.
As for the piece of land that the city will purchase for a future river park, that will be wonderful for all of us, too, including kids, adults and visitors. Sometimes, it takes someone from out of town to see a gem that the locals overlook. Wouldn’t you rather see the open lot at Seventh and Yampa streets become a public park along the riverfront rather than more condos or another restaurant? I would.
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