Bruce Alston: An inventive proposal to reduce traffic
July 10, 2018
Dear Steamboat Springs and Routt County residents,
I don’t know if you’ve noticed but to my level of observation, there seems to be a bit of a traffic issue in Steamboat Springs. Maybe it’s just me and my impatient driving habits or because I’ve lived here so long but it is entirely different now.
I have joked that in the late ’70s, you could play Frisbee on main street in the summertime. Things change. Sometimes for the better. Sometimes not.
Anyway, I have a possible proposal or solution. Or at least a start to a solution. Maybe it’s a harebrained idea, but I think it may have some merit if someone smarter than me can work out the details and kinks.
Here it is. First of all, let’s assume we want to get 3,000 cars off of U.S. Highway 40 and city streets. I suggest we pay 3,000 people $3,000, not to drive their cars between Memorial Day and Labor Day — our worst months for traffic.
Imagine, some of you nurses, doctors, lawyers, dentists, office staff, cooks and waiters, hospital employees, accountants, shopkeepers and retail people, all riding, pedaling, e-biking or on a scooter. Not to mention all of you housewives and househusbands. That doesn’t mean you couldn’t one in awhile take little Jason to soccer practice or Susie to the flute recital. Or do your major grocery shopping at 9 a.m.
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I understand and appreciate that we can’t get plumbers, landscapers, electricians, painters and carpenters out of their trucks, but perhaps, with a little planning, you too could reduce or limit your trips as well. Be open. Think about it.
That’s $90,000 I am proposing the city spend on getting some of our residents on bicycles, e-bikes and scooters — $90,000 to make our lifestyle in Steamboat Springs more enjoyable for both our residents and our visitors.
We would need to figure out a way to make people who sign on to the program accountable. But with GPS, smartphones and technology in general, I’m hopeful that it could be done.
And then, we could really call ourselves Bike Town USA.
Three thousand is a lot of cars with 3,000 people getting fitter, helping our town and the environment. I ask that you be open to the possibility of changing for the better.
We probably will never get to play Frisbee on main street again, but perhaps, we get a little bit of our sanity back.