City officials get serious about downtown traffic compliance
July 20, 2007
Steamboat Springs — The city of Steamboat Springs is beefing up enforcement of downtown traffic and construction violations.
Deputy City Manager Wendy DuBord said Thursday that the city no longer will be lenient with pedestrians, drivers, bicyclists or construction companies that don’t comply with traffic regulations and management plans.
Police, community service officers and other city officials have been directed to increase their presence downtown to make sure drivers yield to pedestrians, that trucks don’t run red lights and that people don’t park where they aren’t supposed to, she said.
“It’s a general safety issue from Second to 13th streets right now,” she said. “We have been receiving an increasing number of calls from people concerned about parking, safe driving, tailgating, aggressive drivers and bikers who aren’t following traffic rules.”
The decision to increase enforcement comes on the heels of a Tuesday night City Council meeting in which several council members expressed their concern with downtown issues, including construction projects that have sprawled beyond their sites and onto city streets.
“We are not adequately screening these construction sites,” council member Ken Brenner said. Brenner cited the Howelsen Place project on the former Harbor Hotel site as an example of unsightly chain-link fencing and debris such as rocks in the street.
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Council member Towny Anderson agreed.
“Part of it is cleaning up,” he said. “It’s one thing to have fences, it’s another to have rocks all over the road.”
City Manager Alan Lanning asked the council what it wanted done.
“Tell me the level of enforcement you want, and we’ll do it,” he said.
DuBord said council members agreed to pay overtime to city employees to continue enforcing compliance downtown.
Police Sgt. Dale Coyner said the police department will increase its presence downtown as part of Lanning’s directive.
“We have seen an increase in traffic complaints mostly around construction traffic and vehicles speeding, with the majority of it being in Old Town,” he said. “People need to remember that traffic is heavy, and we have a lot of pedestrians.”
DuBord said keeping the public’s safety in mind and ensuring construction companies were complying with their management plans were major considerations in deciding to increase enforcement.
“No more warnings, no more excuses,” she said. “People will be getting tickets, and we will be issuing stop-work orders, which no construction company wants.”
DuBord reminded residents that the city’s two-hour parking lots and parking along Lincoln Avenue are not for construction use.
“The situation is continuing to get worse,” she said. “Every time a new construction project starts up, it just makes it that more difficult and traffic more congested. We look like a war zone.”
Coyner said drivers should be patient entering downtown and be aware of the construction projects, bikers and pedestrians.
“It doesn’t take much to create an unsafe situation with the numbers of families, bikers and drivers we have,” he said. “I urge people to use common sense, slow down and be patient with your commute.”
Reporter Mike Lawrence contributed to this story.
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