City steps up parking enforcement
April 8, 2016
Steamboat Springs — More people in Steamboat Springs this year are coming back to their illegally parked cars to find pink parking tickets.
In response to the City Council’s repeated calls for more parking enforcement, the city has started to increase its watch over public parking spaces. The result has been significantly more tickets and warnings than last year.
City officials hope the efforts ultimately make more spaces available as the threat of tickets motivates drivers to obey parking time limits.
According to records released Thursday by Police Chief Cory Christensen, the city handed out 620 parking tickets and 987 warnings through April 5 this year.
That’s a 15.5 percent, or an 83-ticket increase, over the same time last year.
Warnings have gone up by 8 percent.
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Most of the tickets and warnings have been issued for violating overnight parking restrictions that are put in place to allow for snow-removal operations.
A ticket for that offense carries a $50 fine. The fine doubles if the ticket isn’t paid in 14 days.
The winter parking restrictions are still in place until April 30.
No cars can park on Lincoln Avenue or in Ski Time Square from 3 to 6 a.m. Parking is also restricted in the Anglers Drive area and on public streets in the southern city limits between midnight and 8 a.m.
Parking restrictions are in place for all other areas where plowing occurs from 2 to 8 a.m.
There are overnight parking lots available downtown.
The rules for parking appeared to be much less strict in Steamboat in the 1950s and ’60s.
A Jan. 7, 1960. article in the Steamboat Pilot reported that "law enforcement officers would like car owners to try to keep their cars parked off the street as much as possible so that the snow plows" can clear snow in the winter.
"When you hear a plow coming, it would help to move your car," officers told the Pilot.
The Town Board in 1951 passed a rule that prohibited cars from parking on the city streets for more than 12 hours at a time.
Christensen said the city intends to keep up the increased enforcement this summer.
Parking has been a hot topic in Citizens Hall in recent months and years.
Last month, Council President Walter Magill floated the idea of installing parking meters in certain portions of the downtown area. The council quickly pivoted away from that idea a few weeks later.
Magill changed course and said the city should first focus on stepping up enforcement to make sure vehicles aren’t overstaying their welcome.