There's no avoiding the fact that Breckenridge is a town with a parking problem - especially during the busy seasons. So we can understand why the town has turned to higher technology to enforce its parking time limits on town streets. Gone are the old tire-chalkers and instead is a software solution that uses digital photography and GPS technology to track how long a car has been parked in a certain spot. No surprise, then, that the number of parking tickets being written in town has gone way up as the ability to avoid detection or beat the system in any way has all been but eliminated.
Certainly the town is entitled to enforce its rules as best it can, but like those infernal traffic cameras in Denver that automatically nail drivers trying to beat red lights, the new parking technology in Breck represents yet another step toward a constantly monitored society that can seem downright Orwellian at times. Surrounded as we are by video cameras, tracked electronically in who knows how many ways by Homeland Security and every Facebook post monitored and scrutinized for revenue potential, the days of anything resembling anonymity or even a decent amount of privacy are going by the boards.
So while we cringe at the thought of even more parking tickets being issued in a town already suffering a bad rap for such, we hope the town continues to increase the signs and communication to help people avoid such penalties. Sure, some of those getting tickets are scofflaws, well aware of their transgression, but others - especially visitors - may be a bit more oblivious, and make no mistake: A "gotcha" parking ticket can sour a visitor on Summit County and Breckenridge as quickly as bad service or an unclean hotel room.
It's always been a slippery slope for us as a resort community: how to enforce the rules without turning people off. Breck gets a lot of the heat simply because of the traffic it sees in town, and certainly some of the gripes we hear are unfounded. It was good to learn that, along with the new parking system came some better signs to reduce the number of drivers getting cited for parking in a handicapped spot. With that in mind, we hope the town continues its efforts to make clear its parking rules and that some of that money from all those parking tickets goes toward creating more spots in town or, at very least, making it abundantly clear where and when parking can occur and what the penalties are for infractions. Along with that, the enforcement officers should be charged with working as hard to help and educate people about the town's rules as they are with writing citations.