Traffic moves through downtown Steamboat Springs on Monday afternoon. The city is hosting a public forum on downtown parking Tuesday night as it continues to look into possible changes to the parking system.

Photo by Scott Franz

Traffic moves through downtown Steamboat Springs on Monday afternoon. The city is hosting a public forum on downtown parking Tuesday night as it continues to look into possible changes to the parking system.

Community members can weigh in on downtown parking at Tuesday night forum

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Past Event

Parking community outreach forum

  • Tuesday, July 29, 2014, 5:30 p.m.
  • Steamboat Springs Community Center, 1605 Lincoln Ave., Steamboat Springs
  • Not available

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— When Steamboat Springs City Council member Scott Ford talks about the future of downtown parking here, he likes to point to his 1999 Honda Civic.

"It's got issues, but I tolerate them because I don't want to buy something new," he said Monday.

He said the same could be true for the downtown parking situation in Steamboat.

"I don't think we're ever going to have the perfect solution," he said.

Will the issues with Steamboat's downtown parking soon warrant a big investment or change?

That's a question parking consultants and community members could start to help answer Tuesday night at a parking forum at the community center.

There are some business owners, council members and community members in town who have said Steamboat's downtown parking situation is so bad, it's time to buy that new "car."

Their suggestions for the investment are wide ranging and include such things as a parking structure, meters, a Segway that would allow parking enforcement officers to better patrol the streets and a downtown shuttle.

At the parking forum, consultants from Denver who have spent part of the summer studying Steamboat's downtown parking situation will present their initial findings.

Their research so far has included a survey of available parking and interviews with downtown shoppers and visitors.

City officials said the $54,000 parking study will give the city and the council some recommendations from experts for how to improve parking.

"I hope (this study) leads to a conversation that keeps moving us forward to create a better space down there for all of downtown," City Council member Kenny Reisman said.

He said council's decision last month to spend $50,000 on Yampa Street safety improvements, which have included new temporary curb stops to delineate parking, was a good way to start the conversation.

Reisman said getting businesses involved will be key as parking discussions advance.

Ford said he's hoping the perceived parking problem downtown will be quantified in the latest study.

"I'm not anxious to jump into solutions before we have a really clear idea of what the problem is," Ford said.

In a previous parking study from several years ago, Steamboat's parking problem was defined as too many downtown employees taking up too many prime spaces.

The studies showed as many as 1,800 of 2,800 spaces downtown were taken by employees, according to a recent review of a 2012 study by the Urban Land Institute.

The ULI panel was in the city to study Yampa Street and reported there was a parking problem that stemmed from an "outdated parking management program."

Today, opinions on the downtown parking situation seem to be as diverse as the makes of the cars that cruise down Lincoln Avenue.

Some business owners and community members say a lack of prime spaces is deterring customers and causing headaches.

But some visitors and residents will tell you they don't think any big changes are needed.

Mainstreet Steamboat Springs Manager Tracy Barnett said the problem boils down to a lack of enforcement in a city that only employs one person who is focused on parking enforcement.

"One guy out there chalking tires isn't the best way to go," she said.

She said there are ways of improving enforcement without taking the jump to a paid parking system.

"I think paid parking is still one of those things most people would rather not see," she said.

Tuesday's forum starts at 5:30 p.m.

To reach Scott Franz, call 970-871-4210, email scottfranz@SteamboatToday.com or follow him on Twitter @ScottFranz10

Comments

Scott Wedel 2 years, 4 months ago

So you have to go to the forum to be told what is in the report? So nobody at the forum except those presenting the report have any knowledge of the parking report and thus no one can ask informed questions?

Who decides that a completed report remains secret until the public forum where people are expected to provide input? So none of the input can be informed!?!

Why would city government present a report that why? Oh yeah, answered that above. So the public cannot provide knowledgeable input. And so government officials can continue with their plans without informed public input.

Which is why credible governments RELEASE the report BEFORE the public meeting on the topic.

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Scott Wedel 2 years, 4 months ago

Impossible to be informed when they won't release the report. Impossible to ask informed questions at the meeting.

So go to the meeting to learn of the city's plan and then later read the report to see if the city's plan is supported by the report?

Not releasing the report so there can be no informed questions at the meeting is the sort of crap that happens when there is a control freak in city government operating unchecked by elected officials.

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Scott Wedel 2 years, 4 months ago

I can list the meetings I've been to that I haven't seen you.

If the report was available then I would have read it. If I thought the report had serious flaws I would have told that to my city council representative and decided whether to attend.

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Scott Wedel 2 years, 4 months ago

Well, obviously downtown merchants don't think the problem is bad enough to request the city implement that solution. In fact, we have the exact opposite situation of downtown businesses giving work breaks so their employees can move their vehicles to other short term parking spots. Obviously, they are comfortable with their employees using short term parking that is intended to be used by customers.

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jerry carlton 2 years, 4 months ago

Scott B Your suggestion is way too simple and makes way too much sense. Government prefers to spend $54,000 of we the taxpayers money on the umpteenth study of parking issues.

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Scott Wedel 2 years, 4 months ago

I think the bigger problem is that parking enforcement isn't that popular with at least some downtown business owners or employees.

If there was a consensus by business owners that they were losing customers then they would be in front of the city council demanding enforcement. And city would certainly respond since any loss of sales is less money for the city government.

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mark hartless 2 years, 4 months ago

Remember the song "California Dreaming"?

Why did the preacher like the cold? 'Cause he knows you'll stay in his church.

As long as downtown is packed the merchants are gonna like it. Matters not to them if a fire truck, concrete truck, school bus or working guy can make their way through the mess or find parking...

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