Steamboat Springs A bright orange sticker is proving to be an effective tool for controlling parking in Steamboat Springs probably because of the sticky problems it causes car owners.
The warning stickers are used by many businesses around town that regulate parking. They are usually put on the driver's side window, to tell the car owner that the vehicle is in violation of some parking rule.
What's troublesome for drivers is that the stickers are hard to peel off. Hard enough, in fact, that some people just leave the warnings or unremovable portions of them on their windows. That's a benefit to parking attendants, who can tell by the stickers if a car has been caught parked illegally more than once.
"We've increased the number of stickers we've used," said Mike Barrett, Sheraton Steamboat Resort's director of security.
Because of that increase, Barrett said, the number of vehicles that have been towed or had a wheel boot put on has gone down this winter.
A razor blade, some mineral spirits and plenty of elbow grease will take a sticker off, but Barrett said many vehicle owners simply don't bother.
"They kind of wear them like a badge," he said.
Jake Carson of Steamboat Springs received a warning sticker this winter for parking illegally at Colorado Mountain College. He said he tried to remove it with an ice scraper, but couldn't get it all and what was left took a while to wear off.
"Like a month or two," he said.
That's why the Steamboat Springs Police Department doesn't use the stickers on illegally parked cars.
"It makes people mad because you can't get them off," Assistant Police Chief Art Fiebing said.
Instead, the city writes warnings for most first-time parking offenders and then gives a parking ticket to repeat offenders.
Like the Sheraton and CMC, Steamboat Ski and Resort Corp. parking officials use the stickers to warn people who are parked illegally after three written warnings, ski corp. spokesman Kent Kirkpatrick said.
"If they do it the fourth time, they get the sticker," he said.
For ski corp., the parking violations include parking in a handicapped space or a no parking zone, or exceeding a two-hour time limit at one of the parking areas. Ski corp. also has to deal with skiers parking on the knoll, across Mount Werner Circle from the resort.
"People come up with some innovative ways to park, there," Kirkpatrick said.
Often, that innovation results in legally parked cars getting blocked in.
At the Sheraton, it depends on the circumstances whether a car gets a sticker. The company has one car boot. If it is in use, a car that could have gotten the boot may get a sticker instead, or it could get towed.
While the sticker is a hassle, it's cheap, compared to towing or the wheel boot.
For normal tows, the tab is $75, but if the vehicle is in four-wheel drive, the owner will have to cough up $115 to cover the bill.
The Sheraton's boot is less expensive, but still not cheap. Taking it off your car's wheel will set you back $50, payable to the hotel. Vehicles adorned with stickers from previous violations are more likely to get towed or booted.