Bike lanes or parking spaces? City of Steamboat says it faces tough choices with 11th Street reconstruction | SteamboatToday.com

Bike lanes or parking spaces? City of Steamboat says it faces tough choices with 11th Street reconstruction

The city of Steamboat Springs was considering making modifications to parking along 11th Street.

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — City officials say they have some tough choices to make this month as they decide how to reconstruct 11th Street in downtown Steamboat Springs.

The city wants to add brand new bike lanes and sidewalks to the street where it runs from Yampa to Oak Street. But the addition of the bike lanes would result in the elimination of about 40 percent, or 26, of the available parking spaces on the downtown street.

"We'd have to change the parking (from diagonal and perpendicular) to parallel the whole way," Public Works Director Jon Snyder said.

The prospect of losing that much parking is causing some business owners to ask the city to forgo the bike lanes.

Snyder said the city plans to approach the City Council on Tuesday to ask the elected officials what they think should be done.

"Would they rather just leave the street alone?" Snyder asked. "That's one of the questions we have."

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Snyder said city staff is leaning toward the option of adding the bike lanes and the sidewalks.

Because a change to parallel parking would increase the width of the street, there is also a plan to introduce a new dedicated left turn lane for drivers making the left from 11th Street to head south on Lincoln Avenue.

The reconstruction of 11th Street is part of a broader plan to improve the downtown corridor with new sidewalks, lighting and pedestrian safety improvements such as raised intersections on Yampa.

Officials view 11th Street as an important project because, in addition to Fifth Street, it is one of two streets downtown that cyclists most often use to get direct access to the Yampa River Core Trail.

Business owners who could be impacted by the work are being invited to speak at the work session later this month.

The city is planning to start the project this summer.

Smell That Bread Bakery operations manager Ryan Seiler said any loss of parking would be “highly detrimental” to business owners on the street.

"I already have customers who complain to me all the time about parking, and this would make that situation worse," Seiler said.

Seiler said cyclists can continue using the street without the addition of a bike lane, and an existing boardwalk and sidewalks allow pedestrians to access nearby businesses.

He cautioned that the city's desire to add more sidewalks might soon lead to a loss in sales tax revenue if it becomes more difficult to find a place to park in downtown Steamboat.

What do you think about the reconstruction of 11th Street?

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