Parking lot remodel adds some new (and highly-coveted) parking spaces in downtown Steamboat | SteamboatToday.com

Parking lot remodel adds some new (and highly-coveted) parking spaces in downtown Steamboat

Parking in downtown Steamboat Springs has been constantly debated and discussed by residents.

In the thick history books that will be written about the decades of debates, milestones and struggles over parking in downtown Steamboat Springs, Matt Eggen deserves a mention.

The city's staff engineer recently helped create 15 new parking spaces in the area of Eighth and Oak streets that didn't exist before.

What wizardry was needed to find that many spaces on land the city already controlled?

Eggen was humble when interviewed Friday about the city’s ability to create the additional parking.

Eggen, who worked on the designs for the remodel of the public parking lot, said it was a mix of things.

Some dumpsters were moved around to maximize parking efficiency.

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The city closed off one access point to the lot on Oak Street, increasing the availability of on-street parking in the area.

The actual size of the parking lot itself was enlarged because the city added sidewalks and removed the pedestrian-reconfigured parking lot, and the addition of some new on-street parking spaces on Oak Street increased the parking inventory by about 15 spaces.

Eggen said the city also gained a couple of handicapped parking spaces.

As another plus, Public Works Director Jon Snyder reported the city was able to achieve its goal of opening the parking lot before the busy summer tourism season started.

Oak Street isn't the only place the city has made changes to increase its parking inventory in recent years.

Since 1997, Planning Director Tyler Gibbs reports the city has seen an estimated increase of 287 on-street parking spaces due to reduced curb cuts and the addition of more diagonal parking.

Here's a more recent example:

The addition of reverse angle spaces on Yampa Street resulted in a net gain of 21 spaces in 2013.

However, amidst the recent gains, there are also ongoing concerns from some in the community about setbacks and the future of parking in downtown Steamboat.

Some fear planned redevelopment in the downtown area will shrink the overall parking inventory.

Community members continue to clamor for a parking garage that would promise hundreds, not dozens, of additional spaces.

And city officials have pointed out that many of the public parking spaces that downtown visitors currently enjoy, such as the lot next to the old Yampa Valley Electric Headquarters, are privately owned and not guaranteed to remain public parking.

The parking discussion continues, and more history will inevitably be written.

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