Feb 262004
 
Authors: James Baetke

Fort Collins city officials and local associations have

implemented new downtown parking parameters in part to ease

business ire and angst.

The city is attempting to crack down on repeat offenders who

habitually ignore parking violations and who park long-term in

spots designated for two-hour short-term use. The initial steps of

the new policies began on Feb. 1.

According to city calculations, a long-term parker uses one in

five short-term parking spaces that can heavily affect business,

especially at establishments with parking spaces located in front

of the business.

The parking space in front of a retail establishment can

directly contribute up to $300,000 in gross revenue per year, city

officials said.

David Short, the executive director for the Fort Collins

Downtown Association, said the new policy is aimed at helping

customers visiting downtown get around better.

“Parking down here was a problem for customers,” Short said,

adding customers could not find places to park thanks to long-term

parkers abusing the two-hour time limit.

Randy Hensley, Fort Collins parking service manager, said there

is overwhelming support for the changes and said the city is doing

this in response to public outcry.

“Our top priority is to make downtown friendly,” Hensley

said.

A few business owners are not happy with the changes and claim

it is unfair for city employees to have discount long-term parking

permits.

Hensley said the upset business owners have no reason to

complain, stating that any employer can provide employees with

permits that are partially paid by the employer, like what the city

does.

“We do not feel we should provide every employee with free

parking,” Hensley said.

The city is going to continue to keep the spaces free by not

installing parking meters, but it has spent $250,000 in all on new

parking technology and policy.

Short said the technique of using chalk on motorists’ tires to

monitor the time a car has spent in a particular space is a thing

of the past within the core of downtown. This new $250,000

technology has partly been spent toward a new camera and pickup

truck that scans license plates.

Hensley said a new ticketing managing system valued at $150,000

and the plate recognition system at $74,000 made up the bulk of the

spending for new parking policies.

Additionally, the city discourages parkers from moving spot to

spot to avoid fines, and it plans to enforce an ordinance in the

future, Hensley said.

If motorists are seeking long-term parking, or know they will be

downtown for longer than the two-hour period in the short-term

spaces, then there are two garage options.

The Civic Center Parking Structure, located on the corner of

Mason Street and Laporte Avenue, and the Old Town Parking

Structure, on the corner of Mountain Avenue and Remington Street,

are 50 cents per hour, with the first hour free.

Outlying areas of the downtown area are also available for

long-term parking, as long as a motorist is willing to walk a few

blocks, Hensley said.

Kathy Collier, Fort Collins business outreach specialist for

SmartTrips, said there are plenty of alternative options instead of

having to search around downtown for parking. She encourages taking

Transfort or renting a bike from SmartTrips to travel to Old Town

or to work.

For more ideas for alternative modes of transportation downtown,

Collier urges to call SmartTrips at 970-224-6216.

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*The amount of your ticket will be determined by

the number of violations received in the past 180 days

Overtime violations received within the last 180

days:

1st (Oops ticket) Warning
2nd $10
3rd $25
4th or more $50
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