Doug Smith: Bypass needed
December 3, 2006
I’ve been stewing over something for years, and it has gotten to the point where I wonder if anyone shares my concern.
Our downtown area is about to experience considerable growth with four major new buildings having been approved, plus the Riverwalk project. I haven’t been able to figure out how the Lincoln Avenue transportation corridor will absorb all this new development.
We desperately need to consider and plan for an alternate transportation route that bypasses the downtown area. Major housing projects have the stipulation that there be two transportation corridors in and out of the proposed housing area. This seems like wise planning to me, so where is the alternate route for the downtown area? In an automobile, there is only one way to get from the ski area to west Steamboat – right down Lincoln Avenue.
During the morning and evening travel commutes, it is obvious the traffic has outgrown the ability of Lincoln Avenue to function efficiently. Currently, the push for growth in housing is toward west Steamboat. I would agree that the land is available, but how is the Lincoln Avenue corridor going to absorb more people trying to get from the western edge of town, through the downtown area and out to where all the essential commercial activity is located?
I have spent most of my life living in the Steamboat Springs area and through the years have seen many potential bypass options taken out of consideration due to the development of available land. The most recent action was when the library expansion was approved, taking off the table one of the last convenient access routes to Yampa Street.
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It seems to me that immediate action needs to be taken to address this transportation oversight. The right-of-way for an alternative roadway needs to be negotiated and set aside for future use. The road wouldn’t have to be built tomorrow, but the acknowledgement that at some point in the future, when the road needs to be built, this is where it will go. Continuing to approve high-density developments without apparent thought to the transportation impact seems shortsighted at the least and just plain irresponsible at the most. Is there anyone else that feels this way?