Robin Craigen

Robin Craigen 3 months, 1 week ago on Summer visitor survey showing decline in biking numbers raises eyebrows at Steamboat Springs City Council meeting

There are lots of questions to be asked about this survey before decisions are taken to change direction. We are just a couple of years into a multi-year plan that was developed way before people like the new City Manager came to town. A lot of homework was done before this was ever approved. A lot of work is being done to implement a big vision of Steamboat as a World-class biking destination and it is way to early to pull up and say "Hey! It's not working..."

Many of the trails in the master plan are yet to be built. It takes time, diligence and persistence on the part of all players involved to pull this off, even with the money in place. I was witness to the most recent 2A meeting and I can tell you that what I saw was a "dream-team" of who you would want to have involved in this project - experienced and dedicated trail builders like Aryeh, dedicated and respected representatives of the US Forest Service like Kent Foster, professional City Representatives like Craig Robinson and Winnie DelliQuadri, resepected members of the cycling and business community who sit on the 2A Committee and a whole lot of engaged and involved cyclists. If anyone is wondering if the process is being thoughtfully implemented you should attend these meetings. You will quickly realize that we are extremely lucky to have this opportunity and we are only just starting to see the fruits of their labors. It's a multi-year plan and the best trails are yet to come. How can you talk about this not working when it's not even really begun?

We are going to need trail counts, and we are going to need more specific surveys if we want to talk about the numbers of visitors this is driving. You won't always find them wandering down main street, buying ice cream and t-shirts. I have heard these Chamber survey reports and the skepticism that Jim Clark and other business leaders have expressed towards cycling.

Destination tourism is our biggest opportunity in Summer. We have plenty of weekend business (I have even heard people say it's too much on some weekends) with all the festivals and events. Something like biking, that brings people here for 4 - 7 nights like it does in the winter with skiing, is what will "make the needle move" and round-out our summers.

As for the core trail this is basic and much needed infrastructure not a recreational amenity that the city should fund for reasons of providing alternative options for safe biking throughout the community for locals and visitors alike. We can't make our roads wider, but we could and should make the Core Trail go to Steamboat II. The 2A money is not ear-marked for this project because the core trail will not be the reason why someone gets in their car to come here - it's a satisfier, not a motivator. The motivator trails are coming...


Robin Craigen 7 months ago on Roundabouts one way to meet several goals at approach to resort base

Scott, that's what everyone said about the roundabout at Apres Ski way and so far my experience has only been a positive one. Roundabouts dominate in Europe for good reason...they are safer and more efficient. Studies in the US back this up.

If roundabouts slow people down in the winter coming down Mt Werner Rd then this will be a good thing. The intersection of Mt Werner Rd and Central Park Drive is another spot where vehicles regularly wait for the light while there is no other traffic. A roundabout would be way more efficient.


Robin Craigen 2 years, 7 months ago on Jack Horner: Core trail is for bikers

Smiling inanely as you ride along is a great idea - I suggest that some motorists try doing this too - no generalization intended here as I sure that some have need of this more than others, but this could help Jack simmer down.

The downside to the smiling while road biking is that after 20 miles or so the jaw muscles start to tighten and the smile then starts to loose some of it's "happiness". There is always the risk that this could then be interpreted as a snarl, provoking yet more silly letters to the editor. Further more extended periods of smiling necessitates riding with a toothpick to remove flies and grasshoppers that fly up at you with only your teeth to save you from inhaling.

As to the general complaint about the traffic situation here just travel to any major populated area in the world and you will realize how good we have it here for most of the year. Some people, such as the author of this letter, grossly overstate the inconvenience of driving across town, ignoring the opportunity to be part of the solution (by biking) instead of begrudgingly remaining part of the problem and taking out their daily frustrations on one or two individuals on bikes who may not be smiling at them (see above for reasons why).

I personally recommend that everyone try biking a little more often, smiling (not continuously but spontaneously at any opportunity) and thinking about better uses of their time than whining about things they can help improve by tolerance, listening to music or cutting back on the caffeine.

Just sayin'...


Robin Craigen 3 years, 5 months ago on Our View: Vote ‘yes’ on Referendum 2A

Echoing Eric's comments, this funding will get something done that is way beyond the scope of a volunteer effort. The trails we have built already have shown the potential that a trails master plan as envisaged through 2A and the Trails Alliance proposal can now achieve. It's not a gamble. Without this idea being 20 years in the making we would not be so bold as to suggest that this is the best use of the accommodations tax.

Many people have worked tirelessly to bring us to this point. The doubting questions have been asked many times over - will this work? Yes!

When you understand the scope of what is proposed and the potential that has been demonstrated elsewhere and applied to Steamboat you will see why 2A makes sense as the best use of these funds.


Robin Craigen 3 years, 5 months ago on Jack Vanderbeek: Back Referendum 2A

Before you weigh in how shameful this is I suggest that you do your homework on what this tax revenue is, who pays for it and what the stated purpose of the tax language is.

It's an existing accommodations tax paid by visitors to our community. No-one confiscated anything at gun point. Tax revenue is how thing get paid for, and 2A is a very good use of this money to enhance our community and provide many more great recreational opportunities for both visitors and residents.


Robin Craigen 3 years, 5 months ago on Jack Vanderbeek: Back Referendum 2A

Thanks Jack for sharing your passion and enthusiasm for trails in Steamboat.

It's easy for some to be dismissive of the potential of the Trails Alliance proposal until you look around (the World - not just North America) and see what other communities have done to ignite their cycling tourism by building new trails and improving their level of bike friendliness.

This is not some great newfangled idea that came out of no-where. The potential has been demonstrated in Whistler BC, Northstar CA, Moab UT, 7-Stanes in Scotland and many, many other places. If you build it they WILL come. The International Mountain Bike Association backs this plan, experts around the country spoke at our Bike Summits and urged us to go for it. Steamboat is a great cycling community; we have the kind of terrain people love to ride in, over and around; it's a great place to visit after you are done cycling for the day; and we have a ton of capacity already built in our winter tourism infrastructure that we can use to accommodate new visitors.

Denying the potential because of the fear of the administrative cost is simply clutching at straws. Denying it because 10 years is too long is like saying any great new project that is not constructed in 1 - 3 years is untenable. It will take time, and that's OK, but it will take a lot less time with this funding. We need to do it right and 2A will allow this to happen.

This community has been building towards this kind of opportunity for over 20 years through the passionate involvement of local riders through Routt County Riders, and the leadership of the Bike Town USA Initiative with all the major stakeholders represented and pulling in the same direction. In my experience that is almost unprecedented.

2A offers Steamboat the greatest potential I have seen to "move the needle" on summer tourism and in the same breath it will significantly enhance our community. The execution of this plan will require the same passion and determination that got us this far, but when you look at what has been achieved so far, especially in the last 5 - 10 years, you have to believe that it is worth it.

Not a new tax - a new way to use revenue provided to us by our visitors. Let's give them something that they really want!


Robin Craigen 3 years, 8 months ago on Tour de Steamboat cycling event continues as labor of love

Walt, I don't think that it is acceptable that cyclists bunch up and slow other road users unnecessarily or deliberately, but that is not typically what is happening.

The fact that cyclists may ride in a group speaks to the nature of cycling - it is something frequently shared and I see nothing wrong in people riding together, even two abreast (see my post above about 3 feet to pass - it makes little or no difference to the overtaking vehicle once they cross the centerline). Larger groups like this past weekend is a matter of "sharing the road" with an event and for the infrequent occasions that this happens I see no difference between that and "sharing our supermarket isles" with the many weekly visitors we see in our town. It requires a little more patience and understanding that this is what comes with the territory of a community that attracts outside visitors.


Robin Craigen 3 years, 8 months ago on Tour de Steamboat cycling event continues as labor of love

I agree Pat, the roads are barely adequate for the current needs. Let's hope there is a long term plan to make the roads safer for everyone.

As to the overtaking issues, the current law requires motor vehicles give a minimum of 3 feet when passing, so with the narrow roads in the county it means in many cases you will have to cross the mid-line of the road. It amazes me that motorists faced with this choice are reluctant to make use of the entire oncoming lane when overtaking. Honesty, what is the difference, unless you are looking to make a point of some kind? Many motorists were extremely considerate this weekend which was much appreciated. A few cut it close unnecessarily. Sharing the road does not mean you are entitled to take unnecessary risks. A small dose of patience would go a long way...