A cyclist rides around two parked delivery trucks and parked cars Monday afternoon on Yampa Street. Several business owners on the street are opposed to removing parking spaces in the area to make it more pedestrian friendly.

Photo by Scott Franz

A cyclist rides around two parked delivery trucks and parked cars Monday afternoon on Yampa Street. Several business owners on the street are opposed to removing parking spaces in the area to make it more pedestrian friendly.

Several Yampa Street business owners oppose removal of parking spaces


If you go

•Steamboat Springs City Council meeting

• When: 5 p.m. Tuesday, June 17, 2014

• Where: Citizen's Hall, 124 10th Street

— Brock Webster would love to see fewer and fewer cars on Yampa Street along with a transition to a more pedestrian-oriented corridor.

But like many other business owners nearby, the bike store owner doesn't think now is the time to eliminate 30 to 40 parking spaces on the street to start making that happen.

“If you do that, then there has to be a parking garage. Where are those people going to go?,” Webster asked Monday from Orange Peel Bicycle Services on Yampa. “Heck ya, I'd love to see less cars on Yampa Street. But we're not ready for it yet. There's infrastructure that's needed.”

The Steamboat City Council on Tuesday night will vote on a proposal introduced by member Kenny Reisman to remove 30 to 40 parking spots on the riverside portion of Yampa where it runs from Sixth Street to Ninth Street.

Reisman believes removing the spots would help to revitalize the street and make it safer for the many bikers and pedestrians who frequent the area.

A Colorado Department of Transportation bike counter on the street detected 21,598 bike trips on Yampa in July of 2013.

On Monday, several business owners on Yampa said while they share Reisman's desire to make the street safer and more appealing to pedestrians, they don't want to see the spaces removed on their street.

Many feared the move would cause more people to avoid the area and spend their money elsewhere.

“Taking away parking spaces is going to make it harder for people to come eat at my restaurant,” Sake2U co-owner Eric Delaney said. “If we're going to get spots taken away, something else has to be done.”

Delaney said parking already is so tight around his restaurant the owners are making employees park across the Yampa River at Howelsen Hill.

Delaney's call for a parking alternative before spots are removed for pedestrians was echoed by many other business owners who would be most impacted by the removal of the spots on his end of the street.

“I'm not sure removing all the parking spots is the answer,” Sunpie's Bistro co-owner Jarrett Duty said. “I'd like to have more conversation and get more input from business owners before a decision is made.”

Jeff LaRroche, one of the owners of E3 Chophouse, called the possible removal of spots a “knee-jerk reaction.”

“I'm all for making this street pedestrian friendly, but (removing parking spaces) is going to hurt business across the board,” he said.

He said it would help for the city to better identify existing parking spaces and look at other improvements such as lighting.

Backdoor Sports owner Pete Van De Carr had a different take on the parking proposal.

“I like the idea. I think it's great,” he said. “I would love for Yampa to be more pedestrian and bike friendly, and right now, it is not, especially in the winter. I guess (removing parking spaces) is the most effective way to do it.”

Sweet Pea Market and Restaurant owner Katherine Zambrana said she needed to learn more about Reisman's proposal and figure out what the pros and cons would be before she could offer an opinion.

Down the street at Aurum Food and Wine, owner Phil Armstrong said he'd like to see other options explored.

"Enforcing the speed limit down here is step number one. Putting the speed bumps in is a good start," he said. "It's a super dangerous area for families to be walking. I just don't believe removing parking from one side of the street is the solution."

The council's discussion about parking spaces on Yampa comes as the city is already taking other steps to increase pedestrian safety on the road.

Several speed bumps were just added to the road, and crosswalks were repainted.

Last year, the speed limit was lowered to 15 miles per hour and reverse-angle parking was introduced to sections of the street. The latter move increased the inventory of parking in the area by 18 spaces, according to city staff, who have compiled a list of pros and cons they felt would come from Reisman's proposal.

Their pros include more freedom to walk and bike along a busy street, better views of the river, the creation of a walking space between Sixth and Seventh streets that currently lacks a sidewalk and creation of a better area for children to bike.

Staff also wrote the decision could easily be reversed if response is negative.

City staff's list of cons includes the $3,000 cost of striping and signage, a loss of buffer space between the sidewalk and roadway and the loss of 30 to 40 parking spaces.

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


Scott Wedel 2 years, 11 months ago

Well, then close the businesses so as much parking isn't needed.

A wonderful fictional book had a group of people that used for their currency. That resulted in hyperinflation because anyone could go to a tree and pick as much money as they needed. So they then burned down all the trees.

That was not intended to be an instructional guide for government policy.


Harry Thompson 2 years, 11 months ago

Watching traffic and the parking situation this past weekend I was amazed that city council would even consider removing a single parking space. Slowing traffic was a great start, requiring every property owner to have a sidewalk would make sense. Cross walks on every corner would make sense. Having a police presence to keep some semblance of order would make sense.

Closing Yampa street to traffic, thus forcing more traffic on to Lincoln makes no sense. Traffic is only going to increase in the future, taking away alternative routes is ludicrous. City council should be looking for ways to make traffic flow and making sure that when someone wants to shop or dine downtown there is adequate parking. We need a common sense approach to these problems not someone's idea of utopia.


Rob Douglas 2 years, 11 months ago

Scott: Any member of the council or the public can pull an item from the Consent Agenda for discussion and public comment prior to a vote.


Paige Boucher 2 years, 11 months ago

Perhaps it's time for the merchants to consider a double or triple deck parking structure. An ideal spot might be the current electric company parking lot, which is under used right now. I understand the EC is not public, but some sort of lease or sale could be worked out.


Clint Fenton 2 years, 11 months ago

The real question here is what do regular people in Steamboat want? Reading this article, you'd think the only people who have a voice in the matter are those who own businesses on Yampa. Since when are businessowners the only stakeholders here?

City council, please register me as one resident that supports removal of parking as described. This will improve the safety of pedestrians and bikers and improve the experience of being on Yampa street.

Despite the complaining from shortsighted businessowners, this is a win-win.


bill schurman 2 years, 11 months ago

In a word the idea of removing 30 to 40 parking spaces without any plan to compensate for the lost spaces is: STUPID.


Collin Kelley 2 years, 11 months ago

Removing highly valuable parking spaces when we as a community have what anyone who actually lives and works in Steamboat would call “a parking problem” is like putting gasoline on a bonfire… OR - in terms that a few members of the council may, more easily understand - would be like selling your existing police and fire stations without having a new station already built. Or identified. Or land purchased for. Or an ETA. Or actual blueprints. You get my point…. It is lunacy!

Business owners on Yampa provide well in excess of 300 jobs to locals - locals that pay taxes, locals who have to have customers to serve in order to make a living, customers have to have PARKING SPACES in order to patronize those businesses. SO, no - we as business owners aren’t the only ones who’s opinions matter in this topic, but we should be looked upon for guidance of the situation as we are the ones ‘in the trenches’ on a daily basis and have ideas to move this thing forward in a productive manner instead of a destructive, possibly catastrophic manner.


mark hartless 2 years, 11 months ago

Removing parking to save parking might seem silly to you un-washed masses who just don't understand government.

Maybe it's like "... we need to pass the bill so we can see what's in it..."


Bill Dalzell 2 years, 11 months ago

I think the real goal here is to make Yampa more pedestrian friendly. Collin, I think everyone certainly respects your opinion. I certainly respect the fact that you seem to run a good business and employ a lot of people. I don't think Clint was trying to attack the business owners, he was just stating that other peoples opinions matter as well. I have worked on Yampa, and while parking can almost always be more convenient, I would not say it is a problem. I am not sure the majority of people in this town feel that parking is a problem. I am also curious, what kind of numbers a business like yours does on a day like this past Saturday. Are numbers down when Lincoln and seventh streets parking are compromised by such events as the farmers market and Mustang Rally? I would think your numbers would be up, but could be dead wrong. I think it is an extremely difficult balancing act, but like Pete, I feel making Yampa a pedestrian friendly street would make it a better asset to the community.


Scott Wedel 2 years, 11 months ago

If politics were instead like a corporation where the CEO and board could go off and try a radical idea, but they all get fired if they are wrong then it could be worth trying.

But, government officials can do a lot of harm to people's businesses and all that happens is maybe they don't get reelected.


jerry carlton 2 years, 11 months ago

It is nice to have this our most pressing problem currently.


mark hartless 2 years, 11 months ago

The pressing problems are ignored because the solutions are painful.


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