Steamboat parking rules could change

City Council to discuss proposed increase in fines, extended hours


If you go

What: Meeting of the Steamboat Springs City Council

When: 5 p.m. Tuesday

Where: Centennial Hall, 124 10th St.

Contact: Call City Hall at 970-879-2060 or visit href="http://www.... "> for more information.

On the agenda

■ 5 p.m. City Council discussion about tax structure; resolutions including grant application for state funds to add restroom to Little Toots Park and acknowledgement of Yampa Valley Housing Authority board members; supplementary budget requests

■ 7 p.m. Public comment; second and potentially final reading of ordinance to change city sign codes; discussion of new parking regulations

— A proposed overhaul of city parking regulations would expand the hours of legal parking for most spaces along Lincoln Avenue and in downtown parking lots, but it also would increase fines for violations citywide.

The Steamboat Springs City Council is scheduled Tuesday night to discuss extensive parking regulation changes proposed by city Public Works Director Philo Shelton, following recommendations from a city parking and transit committee. The new regulations would change on-street parking on Lincoln Avenue through downtown from two-hour zones to three-hour zones and do the same for sides street off Lincoln Avenue and the Eighth Street parking lot next to The Epicurean restaurant. The regulations would create all-day parking in public lots across the alley from City Hall, on 10th Street; next to the Steamboat Springs Police Station, on Eighth and Ninth streets; across from Howelsen Place, at Seventh and Yampa streets; and in spaces on both ends of Yampa Street, next to Little Toots Park at 12th Street and along the riverside park between Fifth and Sixth streets.

“Businesses said it’d be nice to have three-hour parking zones,” Shelton said Sunday.

He said downtown business owners and members of the parking committee said two hours often is not enough time for lunch and shopping downtown or to catch a movie. To improve the business climate, the parking committee recommended increasing the hours allowed in downtown parking spaces and providing all-day parking in nearby lots so employees don’t have to park in front of businesses.

But the flipside of that coin, Shelton said, is addressing “citywide” parking compliance issues. To that end, the proposed changes would increase fines for violations. Currently, vehicles parked in a spot for longer than the allocated hours receive a warning on first offense, $10 on second offense, $20 on third, $40 on fourth and a maximum fine of $80 on the fifth and additional offenses.

Shelton’s proposal would give a warning on first offense and then a $40 fine on every following offense. It would double the fine for parking in violation of a posted sign — such as “no parking” or “loading zone” — from $25 to $50. Parking in a spot designated for handicapped drivers currently costs $50 on first offense and $100 on every additional offense. Shelton’s proposal would charge $100 for every offense.

Shelton said the increased fines are intended to make drivers more aware of the time their vehicle is parked in a spot, and thereby increase the turnover of parking spaces.

“This is no attempt to make more money, it’s just to get compliance,” Shelton said. “The hope would be that you turn over those spaces more frequently, so restaurants and businesses can do better.”

Shelton lists the total cost of the recommended changes as $2,500 in downtown capital improvement funds, for new signs, and $500 to print new tickets for police officers.

Shelton said the value of downtown parking became very apparent during fall’s Colorado Department of Transportation work on Lincoln Avenue downtown, when many businesses were hurt by the lack of parking because of construction. CD­­OT’s Lincoln Avenue work, by Scott Contracting, is scheduled to resume downtown at the end of ski season in April.

“I’d like to get it implemented before the downtown Lincoln Avenue project,” Shelton said of an ordinance with the proposed changes. City Council simply will discuss the changes Tuesday. The first and second readings of an ordinance would follow at council meetings in coming weeks. The parking discussion is scheduled near the end of Tuesday’s meeting, which begins at 5 p.m. at Centennial Hall on 10th Street.


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