Steamboat Springs The Steamboat Springs City Council will decide June 17 whether to remove several parking spaces from Yampa Street to make it more pedestrian friendly.
Council member Kenny Reisman proposed the idea and said removing parking on the riverfront side of Yampa from Sixth to Ninth streets would make the street a safer, more appealing gateway to downtown.
422 total votes.
He said it wouldn't be a parking solution, but it would be a "community safety and culture shift."
"It's a change, and I think it's one that will dramatically improve the experience of anyone who lives here or visits here without spending barely a nickel to make it happen," Reisman said.
Reisman estimated his proposal would eliminate about 33 spaces from Yampa and would make it safer for bikers, pedestrians and free concert goers to travel through the area.
His idea came as the council held a lengthy discussion about the future of downtown parking.
Council members offered different views on the prospect of paid parking downtown and also debated the merits of another parking study the city is about to initiate at a cost of $54,000.
"I don't see what we're going to get with this study," Reisman said. "As a council and with community input, we can lead and make a decision ourselves."
Other council members also questioned the study that is being funded from the city's parking in lieu fund.
"I don't think we need another study either," council member Sonja Macys said. "We need courage to actually do something."
Council members then started throwing out a number of parking ideas ranging from promoting cycling and bus ridership to utilizing revenue from paid parking to build a new parking structure downtown.
City Manager Deb Hinsvark said the study could bring clarity to a discussion about parking that currently lacks any consensus from council.
"There are so many ideas here. You have to understand how perplexing it is to staff because there are many options and so many ideas," Hinsvark said. "We have a lot of people with a lot of ideas, and they're great ideas. But we have no real expertise in town. I want to bring you a comprehensive solution."
She added that the point of the study was to bring in an expert to help the community, the council and the city come up with the best parking solution.
To improve parking in the short term, the city is adding more reverse angle parking spaces to Yampa Street, changing parallel spaces on Seventh Street to diagonal spaces and adding new directional signage to steer visitors to free parking lots off of Lincoln Avenue.
To reach Scott Franz, call 970-871-4210, email scottfranz@SteamboatToday.com or follow him on Twitter @ScottFranz10