Human management

Silverthorne opens discussion on potential management of downtown parking

The Fourth Street Crossing parking lot is visible on Sunday December 12th. The Town of Silverthorne is discussing the possibility of charging for parking on the structure.
Allison Seymour / Summit Daily News

As Silverthorne continues to expand its downtown area, the city government is looking for potential ways to better manage parking, including the new parking structure at Fourth Street Crossing.

At the city council working session on Wednesday, December 8, staff and council spoke with representatives from Interstate Parking – the company that runs Breck Park – about options for controlling parking in the city. The conversation started due to issues the developers of Fourth Street Crossing have already seen since the parking lot opened, such as no overnight parking.

“We have to be prepared for an eventuality where if we don’t put some controls on this thing, the parking structure will be abused,” said Tim Fredregill, development manager at Fourth Street Crossing developer Millender White. “I think it’s a pretty big reality that we noticed almost immediately after the garage opened.”

Interstate Parking and city staff developed a concept plan for how core city management works, proposing that the first two hours in the new Fourth Street Crossing garage be free with a nominal fee charged by the following. The company also recommended a time constraint for on-street parking.

Everyone at the meeting reiterated that parking management is about adjusting behavior – if parking is free and unlimited, everyone will drive and stay put for a long time. However, if there is a cost for parking or a time limit, people will often find alternate transportation or stay for a shorter period of time. Fredregill said it would be a good idea to implement a management system as early as possible so that people don’t have to change their behavior for too long after getting used to the current free system.

Gareth Lloyd, partner and executive vice president of the Denver office of Interstate Parking, said implementing some form of parking management has resulted in increased rotations at the parking spots where the company operates. . He said the average person stays in their parking space for two and a half hours, so if the city decides to set up free parking for the first two hours, then the average user will only have a fee. low to pay.

Fredregill said the increase in turnover is good for the economy because it means more people are coming to the parking lot to visit local businesses.

Some council members were totally opposed to the idea of ​​implementing paid parking, noting that they personally avoid areas where you have to pay for parking. Council member Mike Spry said he told the community parking would be free when he approved the construction of the new garage.

“There’s nothing about this conversation that makes me really happy,” Spry said. “… There is a lot of talk in our community that this parking garage was going to be a community asset … and I think there are a lot of people in our community who felt like that was not going to be a payment for – parking entity or structure. I think we’re going to have a community problem if we go down that road.

Council was also concerned about the impact on the local workforce who depend on free parking in the area. Fredregill said that since this is a public parking structure, it should be offered to everyone on the same terms. Employees could still park in the garage, they would simply be subject to the same payment system as the rest of the public.

“The last thing we want to do is exclude the people who work here, because they’re hopefully the people who live here,” said Kevin McDonald, board member.

Council member Kelly Baldwin said she was torn because she can see both sides of the issue. While not a fan of paid parking, she said it was “inevitable” that the garage would be abused, so the city needs a plan to mitigate this.

“I don’t know what the correct answer is, but I’m 50/50 anyway,” Baldwin said. “I wish we could come up with some sort of structure that just penalizes abusers – prevents people from abusing it.”

Lloyd said every town the company works with has conversations like this, but assured the council they were able to make deals, noting that the Crested Butte system was completely free and just based on management. time.

Council made no final decision on parking management after the business meeting, but agreed that it would continue conversations with Interstate Parking to determine the best course of action.

The upper level of the new parking lot in Silverthorne is pictured on Tuesday July 20.
Tripp Fay / For the Summit Daily News