Steamboat Springs City officials adopted new parking regulations Tuesday that will provide eight-hour parking in some downtown areas and increase fines for violations citywide.
The Steamboat Springs City Council voted, 5-1, to adopt the regulations, which are the result of an effort to provide longer downtown parking for shoppers and diners while also meeting the needs of downtown business owners and employees. Public Works Director Philo Shelton said the changes wouldn’t take effect for at least a couple of weeks while signs are ordered and installed and other preparations are made.
The current regulations will remain in place until preparations are complete.
Shelton said public notification will occur when the new regulations are implemented.
The regulations will create eight-hour parking zones in public lots at Ninth and Yampa streets, next to Backdoor Sports; at 10th Street and Lincoln Avenue, across the alley from City Hall; and in half of the lot on Yampa Street next to the Steamboat Springs Police Department. The other half of that lot will become a three-hour parking zone.
Three-hour parking zones also will be created on side streets off Lincoln Avenue, but only from the alleys to Oak or Yampa streets.
Councilman Kenny Reisman voted against the changes because he didn’t think they should be made until July 1, after construction work ends on the downtown repaving project.
An initial draft of parking changes presented by Shelton and the city’s parking committee suggested creating three-hour parking along Lincoln Avenue, as opposed to the current two-hour parking on downtown’s main drag, but business owners feared that would encourage more employees to park on Lincoln and create less turnover in those spaces.
“We were trying to make it more convenient for the shopper by trying to change (Lincoln Avenue) to three hours. That turned out to be unpalatable for the business owners,” said Tracy Barnett, of Mainstreet Steamboat Springs.
Barnett called the parking zone changes approved Tuesday “an interim step.”
There was little to no objection to the citywide increased fines throughout the regulations’ public hearing process.
Parking in violation of posted signs and safety zones will cost $50, as opposed to the current $25 fine, and parking in handicapped areas will cost $100 on every offense. The current fine for parking in a handicapped spot is $50 on the first offense and $100 on every additional offense.
The law also raises the fines in the city’s tiered structure for other violations.
Currently, vehicles parked in a spot for longer than the allocated hours receive a warning on first offense, a $10 fine on second offense, $20 on third, $40 on fourth, and a maximum fine of $80 on the fifth and additional offenses.
The new regulations will give a warning on first offense and charge $25 on the second offense, $50 on the third, and $100 on the fourth and every additional offense.
Shelton has said throughout the public process that the fine increases are primarily intended to encourage compliance and were not created to generate revenue for the city.