New street-crossing rule impacting farmers market in Steamboat Springs | SteamboatToday.com

New street-crossing rule impacting farmers market in Steamboat Springs

Steamboat Springs Police Department community service officer Scott Shaffer issues warnings for jaywalking to Adam Knapp and Dana Stein

— With it now clearly illegal for pedestrians to cross Lincoln Avenue at Sixth Street, organizers of the Mainstreet Farmers Market might consider finding a new home for the summertime event.

New signs instructing pedestrians not to cross at Sixth and 10th streets went up Aug. 8 because city officials thought it was dangerous for people to cross where there are no marked crosswalks or stoplights.

"This is a dangerous crossing point," Steamboat Springs Police Chief Joel Rae said Tuesday.

There have been three farmers markets since the signs were put up, and Mainstreet Steamboat Springs Manager Tracy Barnett said the new rules have had an impact.

On Aug. 17, community service officers were stationed at either side of Lincoln Avenue. They asked for people's IDs and handed out written warnings to those who jaywalked. Some of the people given warnings said they did not see the signs.

"I definitely had not seen it," said eight-year Steamboat resident Dana Stein, who received a written warning Aug 17. "It's a corner. It seems natural to cross there. I'm a New Yorker. I've been jaywalking all my life."

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Rae said he thought the issuance of written warnings was a little too aggressive of a policing strategy. During the most recent Farmers Market on Saturday, Rae said community service officers again were stationed at the corners, but this time, they were directed to educate people by asking them to cross at Fifth or Seventh streets. They strictly were told not to give written warnings, Rae said.

Barnett said pedestrians no longer crossing at Sixth Street is deterring sales at the Farmers Market. The closest ATM is directly across the street, and now, customers have to go out of their way to use it, Barnett said.

Steamboat City Manager Deb Hinsvark said the city's management team will meet Thursday morning to brainstorm and come up with alternative locations for the Farmers Market that will keep people from using unmarked crosswalks.

"I think we've identified the safety issue," Hinsvark said. "We are encouraging people to cross there by having a Farmers Market there."

Barnett said the Farmers Market has been doing well this summer, and sales are back to where they were before the Great Recession. There is room for 75 vendors at the current location.

Relocating the Farmers Market is not a simple task, Barnett said.

"I don't know what to think," Barnett said. "I think we have to weigh all the pros and cons."

The street has to be wide like it is at Sixth Street to accommodate a circle of vendors, Barnett said. Some of the vendors also need access to electricity.

"There are a lot of requirements that it needs to make it work," Barnett said. "There needs to be a gathering space. There needs to be shade."

To reach Matt Stensland, call 970-871-4247 or email mstensland@SteamboatToday.com

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