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Glenwood: Time to take a stand on paid parking

Donna Daniels

In an effort to develop a plan for paid parking in downtown Glenwood Springs, the Downtown Development Authority will host the first of three public workshops at 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday, May 22, at the Glenwood Springs Community Center.

“The Downtown Development Authority, in partnership with Traffic Demand Management and the city planning and engineering staff, has been working diligently to create a strategic plan for downtown parking,” said DDA director Bill Evans. “The planning task force wants to hear from Glenwood citizens and give them a chance to talk with one another to describe the needs, concerns and problems they believe exist in and around downtown.”

Evans hopes to involve downtown merchants and residents.

“We want people to tell us what to be looking for,” Evans said. “It’s important that people have a dialogue with each other.”

With problems identified in the first public meeting, the DDA task force will then inventory currently available parking. Members of the group will also study parking turnover on three successive days in the downtown core and conduct sidewalk interviews of parkers, asking the purpose of the trip, duration and residence of the driver.

The task force will also review current city parking regulations and enforcement policies, Evans said.

In the second public meeting, to be held towards the end of the summer, Evans said the task force will present its data.

“We’ll say, `This is what you told us and this is what we saw. What do you suggest as a solution?'” he said.

The DDA has also hired parking consultant Jim Charlier of Denver, who has trained the task force to collect parking data. He will come in after the data is collected to analyze the information and help prepare a parking plan.

Evans defended the decision to hire Charlier, which came under fire earlier this year. Evans said he won’t spend $50,000 on the parking plan as originally proposed, but declined to reveal his proposed budget until the City Council meeting on Thursday night.

Many questioned the need for such a study when it is apparent that downtown Glenwood Springs does have a problem with parking.

“While some people may believe the parking problems are obvious and solutions are simple, studies and plans in other towns have shown that the wide variety of perceptions and conflicting interests can be very misleading when compared with what actually happens on the streets and in parking lots,” Evans said.

“Certainly downtown merchants believe they seldom have enough turnover in parking vacancies near their stores and shops. Almost 2,000 employees of various public and private employers crowd in and around downtown every day hoping for a parking spot that will last all day,” he said.

The third public meeting will present the results of the study and recommend a strategic plan.

“We want a short-term management plan implemented next winter,” he said.

Long term, in two to five years, the DDA also plans to partner with local governments to build a multi-story parking structure.

Evans, who recently resigned his position as director, said he wants to get the parking plan on track before he leaves at the end of the month.

“I wanted to accomplish this public meeting,” he said.

Even more, he wants to make sure the public is involved in the process.

“We want people to come and speak and not complain later,” he said.


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