Glenwood Springs city staff collects public input on paid parking proposals
Paid parking in Glenwood Springs’ downtown core could help fund parking enforcement and traffic management, but the path forward requires public input, according to city staff.
During an open house Wednesday, city staff presented residents with several options for improving traffic and parking conditions throughout the downtown area.
“The problem we’re trying to solve is we hear from our residents, businesses and visitors that we have a parking problem downtown,” said Debra Figueroa, Glenwood Springs city manager.
Figueroa said complaints about parking and traffic predate her tenure with the city, but were highlighted by recent research collected in the MOVE study.
Bryana Starbuck, the Glenwood Springs public information officer, told about a dozen attendees Wednesday that one of the challenges to managing downtown traffic is a lack of revenue.
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The city typically employs one full-time parking enforcement officer, but Glenwood Springs has struggled to fill the now-vacant position in recent months. When the position is filled, it typically generates about $40,000 in parking violation revenue annually; however, the employee costs the city about $50,000 a year, creating a $10,000 deficit.
If some form of paid parking were implemented by City Council, Figueroa said the position could become self-sufficient and generate revenue for additional traffic management.
During the summer, downtown parking is typically at 100 percent capacity, with many vehicles parking in the downtown area throughout the day, rather than for short increments of time, according to data collected by the city.
Starbuck said the city’s goal would be to maintain about 85% capacity, leaving 15% — or about 1-2 spaces per block — open. This strategy could increase downtown parking capacity by penalizing people for parking in one spot for too long.
Attendees were encouraged to use a voting system to highlight their preferred approach to addressing the city’s parking and traffic issues as well as leave feedback on several proposals.
Some of the proposed solutions included:
Paid parking throughout the downtown core, including the parking garage, with the ability for some residents and businesses to apply for long-term parking permits
On-street paid parking only, off-street paid parking only, or a mixture of both
Seasonal paid parking, in which paid parking would only be enforced during certain times of year
Limited paid parking from 8 a.m.-9 p.m.
Developing a truck delivery plan, specifying when truck deliveries can be made to downtown businesses
Restricting employees and residents from parking in certain parking lots and areas downtown
Paid or free residential parking permits for downtown residents
Free short-term spaces for errands like food delivery
Rob Gavrell, a Glenwood Springs Transportation Commission member, said he had hoped more people would attend the open house.
“Transportation is a big issue for our community,” he said. “We have two rivers, five bridges, a railroad and two highways. We have traffic going through. We have traffic coming to, and there’s a highway down our main street.”
The transportation commission recently recommended the city council follow the MOVE study’s parking and traffic recommendations, Gavrell said.
Some of those recommendations include improvements to parking enforcement hours and technology and expanded residential permit system. Additionally, the adoption, funding and implementation of paid parking of some form in the next few years should be a top priority for Glenwood Springs, city documents state.
Glenwood Springs resident Kevin Brady said he was still digesting the information presented by the city and wasn’t yet prepared to form an opinion on the proposals. But, he said the open would ignite a public discourse.
“I think this gives the community a lot of opportunities to pitch in their ideas for solving the parking problem,” Brady said.
Reporter Ike Fredregill can be reached at 970-384-9154 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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It may be by a technicality, but the Valley Valkyries 7s rugby club were the de facto champions of their hosted tournament this weekend.