City Council president proposes test run of parking meters downtown | SteamboatToday.com

City Council president proposes test run of parking meters downtown

City Council president proposes test run of downtown meters

Scott Franz

A line of cars is parked Tuesday on Yampa Street.

— Elected officials in Steamboat Springs could soon be embroiled in another debate about installing parking meters downtown.

Because city officials predict a downtown infrastructure improvement project could erase approximately 17 parking spaces, City Council President Walter Magill is floating the idea of testing paid parking as early as this summer.

Magill on Tuesday told council members he’d like to try paid parking on Seventh Street between Yampa Street and and Lincoln Avenue and on Eighth Street between Yampa and Oak streets.

“It just seems to me summertime is coming again, and we have a lot more vehicles and visitors, and it might be time for a test of paid parking,” Magill said.

The council is scheduled to discuss downtown parking March 15.

The entire council’s appetite for such a change is not yet clear.

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The City Council last discussed the prospect of paid parking in Oct. 2014 and was just one vote shy of ordering parking meters for one of the few large downtown areas on the Western Slope that remain free of them.

Instead of opting for meters, the council instead signed off on more modest changes, including the restriping and reconfiguring of some spaces to increase overall parking inventory.

Magill’s parking meter suggestion this week represents a departure from his views on the issue in 2014, when he voiced opposition to meters and said he thought paid parking would negatively impact businesses downtown by driving traffic elsewhere.

Magill said recent feedback he’s received from business owners on Yampa Street has led him to call for the test of paid parking.

He said some businesses report employees of other nearby businesses are still taking up spots on Yampa.

This week, Magill and other council members also expressed concern about a loss of downtown parking spaces stemming from the downtown improvement project.

According to city staff, the installation of new sidewalks, crosswalks and bike lanes will require some current parking spaces to be eliminated or changed from diagonal to parallel.

The city tentatively estimates that, while some spaces will be created by the improvements, downtown could lose approximately 17 spaces when the work is complete.

The city also has plans to pave part of the parking lot at the Brent Romick Rodeo Arena to make it a more feasible downtown parking area.

To reach Scott Franz, call 970-871-4210, email scottfranz@SteamboatToday.com or follow him on Twitter @ScottFranz10