Our View: Time for city to take lead
June 4, 2011
Medical marijuana might draw the largest crowd to Centennial Hall on Tuesday, but it won't be the City Council agenda issue with the biggest potential long-term impact to Steamboat Springs.
That designation goes to Agenda Item E-5, an update from the Bike Town USA Initiative that will include a presentation of a draft Community Cycling Plan. Bike Town USA representatives hope to get the council's support for the draft plan, and so do we. But more than simply giving lip service to a plan that lays out how our community, without significant infrastructure improvements, can improve safety and the quality of life for residents while also establishing a sustainable and potentially lucrative economic driver for the summer and fall months, the City Council needs to take the lead in endorsing and ultimately adopting the plan. It's time to put action behind words.
The significance of the Community Cycling Plan extends far beyond the number of trails for mountain bikers or how many bike racks line Lincoln Avenue. The plan is the result of more than a year of work from groups including the city of Steamboat Springs, Routt County, the Steamboat Springs Chamber Resort Association, the U.S. Forest Service, the Colorado Division of Wildlife, Steamboat Ski and Resort Corp., Routt County Riders, the Steamboat Springs Economic Development Council and others. It calls for action as important and logical as using a complete streets approach in transportation planning so that children, teens and adults can safely ride their bikes throughout the community. It emphasizes outreach programs that promote safety for cyclists and motorists. It seeks to develop a comprehensive marketing and communications plan that, combined with the other initiatives, would brand Steamboat Springs as Bike Town USA and finally define our summer tourism economy.
There's little not to like about the Bike Town USA Initiative and the comprehensive Community Cycling Plan. The plan encourages leveraging existing infrastructure to improve our community for current and future generations, and it does so without requiring significant expenses relative to the potential return on investment.
We've already seen the explosion in cycling among residents in the past few years. Anyone who spent a couple of minutes downtown Saturday saw it for themselves. What's not to like about a healthy activity that encourages alternative forms of transportation, fosters a strong sense of community and is a perfect fit for our active mountain lifestyle? That it can drive tourism from a lucrative demographic of visitors makes it a no-brainer.
This is the rare initiative that can define and cement a City Council's legacy in the community. We call on the council to stand firmly behind the Community Cycling Plan and to help make its exciting vision a reality.