Boulder tries to fix residential parking problem

Posted at 9:21 PM, Feb 10, 2016
and last updated 2016-02-11 01:35:26-05

It's something we've all dealt with: Whether you're shopping, running a quick errand or just trying to get home -- parking can often be a huge hassle.           

Because of that, the City of Boulder is discussing ways to improve its residential permit parking program.

“[We want to] see what’s working, see what’s not working,” said Lisa Smith, communications specialist for the Boulder Department of Community Vitality. “Propose some ideas.”

One block off Boulder's iconic Pearl Street is the Whittier neighborhood.

"Certainly there are a lot of people who feel like the current system isn't working for them," said long-time resident Alana Wilson.

Wilson said some days there’s plenty of parking.

"Right now is not one of them," she said as she referenced a completely full curbside up and down her block.

That’s why Boulder City Council is revisiting the residential permit parking program.

"Is this doing what we want it to do?" said Smith.

Smith indicated – at this point – all options are on the table. At a study session this week, the council members considered raising permit prices, reducing the number of permits available to residents and even eliminating permit parking all together.

"In this case, I don't think there was clear consensus," said Smith.

Council also discussed lowering the public street parking maximum time from three hours to two.

"I feel like shortening that window to two hours wouldn't give folks enough time to do their shopping or dining or things that they come downtown to do," said Wilson.

She doesn't drive, but sees all sides. "It's not specifically, explicitly for the use of just the folks who live in the neighborhood."

So Boulder is once again looking for new ways to balance transportation needs of the cycling, motoring and parking public. 

"Not just people who really like it or really dislike it, but the folks who are in the middle," said Smith.

Boulder is also looking at other cities nationwide for ways to improve its permit parking. It’s looking at Portland, Oregon - for example - which takes money from permits and puts it right back into those neighborhoods for things like curbside improvements and pocket parks.

It will be weeks, if not months before the city takes action on this – if at all.


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