Glenwood Springs works to rectify parking situation on Cooper | PostIndependent.com

Glenwood Springs works to rectify parking situation on Cooper

Pedestrains use the cross walk at the intersection of Seventh Street and Cooper Avenue, where business owners say the recent elimination of street parking spaces has hurt sales.

Numerous business owners in the 700 block of Cooper Avenue have voiced their concerns over a realignment that created a loading zone but at the same time diminished parking spots on the east side of the street.

Since a Nov. 1 Glenwood Springs City Council meeting when the concerns were brought before council members, though, city staff has met with the owners and come up with a plan to address the parking dearth, according to City Manager Debra Figueroa.

With already very limited parking in the downtown area, business owners alerted councilors and city staff as to how the loss of spaces was negatively impacting their livelihoods.

"I decided to count how many angle parking spots we had, actually, between Seventh and Eighth Street on Cooper; one day we had 18, the next day we had 19," Cooper Wine & Spirits co-owner Kevin Brady said before councilors at their Nov. 1 meeting.

"Following the realignment and the striping of the parallel parking, we now have 10 spots, one of which is handicapped, which is necessary," Brady added. "Altogether, we lost eight to nine spots."

Business owners explained how their sales numbers had taken a dip, saying the main reason being the loss of parking outside of their storefronts.

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"I am going to tell you my numbers. I am down since this happened $15,000," Mona Lisa clothing store owner Lisa Manzano said before councilors. "That is a chunk of change, because I am a teeny tiny business owner. And that is also a lot of tax revenue, though, for you guys."

Manzano has been in business in Glenwood Springs for 20-plus years and the frank, numerical portrait she illustrated for councilors definitely struck a chord.

"I do think we need to address Cooper sooner than later … we are hearing a very detailed trend … the businesses on Cooper, they are not doing as well as they were," she said.

While many of the business owners conceded that parking would always present challenges in downtown, a lot of their frustrations stemmed from being told they would only lose a few spots. However, when all was said and done, a few turned into eight, they said..

"It is impossible to grow your business when you have nowhere to put your customers," Cooper Wine & Spirits store manager Joseph Sinopoli told the Post Independent Thursday.

It was a sentiment shared by Maureen Montover, who works a few doors down as manager of Katie's Consignment Shop. Montover described how she basically lost three spots in front of her store, alone.

This week, however, Figueroa met with business owners along Cooper to work on rectifying the parking situation as soon as possible.

"Staff has agreed to remove a handicap space that is not required, and add two 15-minute parking spaces ahead of the holiday shopping season," Figueroa told the Post Independent Friday.

"We will continue to work with business owners to determine what other options are available in the long term for improved parking," she said. "Issues discussed included improvements to street lighting and within the parking garage, and determining if the loading and unloading area could be used for parking.

"We are looking forward to working with downtown business owners over the next several years to improve parking options in our downtown core," Figueroa added.

Additionally, the affected business owners told the Post Independent their meeting with Figueroa was productive and they looked forward to working more with the city, as well, to improve parking not only along their block, but in all of downtown Glenwood.

mabennett@postindependent.com