Breck planning new parking rules
BRECKENRIDGE – Breckenridge Town Council members will discuss today how to better manage their 15 parking lots – be it by implementing a paid parking system, strengthening enforcement or permitting.The discussion is scheduled to begin at 3 p.m. in the town council chambers.In any resort community, parking ranks high on the list of anxiety-producing issues and parking regulations are a tool to control congestion and customer access to shops, restaurants and the slopes.The meeting today is the first of three that will address parking lot use, on-street parking, residential and permitted parking, said transit director Jim Benkelman.The plan is being created in anticipation of the ski resort possibly charging for parking on the Miner’s and Tailings day skier parking lots that are currently free. “We’re just trying to be proactive,” Benkelman said. “We want to plan in advance of anything the ski area may or may not do. If the ski area goes in one direction, we want to have a plan in place.”In other words, if the ski area starts charging, the town’s free parking lots would be searched out as an alternative unless they are fee-based as well.According to a memo from the town’s public works department, most of the parking lots in town are heavily used, but could be managed better under the circumstances that exist today.The management plan would help ensure adequate turnover in the business and historic districts, offer employees parking near the transit system and preserve residential parking.Lots that would be affected by the tentative proposal include the Barney Ford, the Summit County Courthouse, East Sawmill, French Street, Ice Rink, Klack Placer, the Lower Exchange, Tiger Dredge and Colorado Mountain College.Under the proposal, the Barney Ford lot at Ridge Street and Washington Avenue would be restricted to two-hour parking. The Summit County courthouse lot would go from being free all day to featuring two-hour public parking and permitted parking for employees.The majority of spots in the East Sawmill lot in the alley behind the Gold Pan would go from being free all day to “premium” permitted employee parking. The remaining slots would be available all day for the public.The town has created “premium” parking spots because it believes those spots have some value attached to them and that the value increases the closer one gets to town. For instance, Copper Mountain Resort charges $20 a day to park in its premium lots. Vail charges $16, Mountain Village outside of Telluride charges $15 a day; and Keystone Resort charges $10 a day. The Breckenridge Ski Resort charges $10 a day for premium parking and the town of Breckenridge charges $8 a day for parking in Tiger Dredge and F-Lot.The French Street parking lot behind Colorado Mountain College, Klack Placer and Lower Exchange lots would also be converted to premium permitted employee parking, as well as 16 spots in the Tiger Dredge lot north of the Village at Breckenridge.Another issue the town might consider in the future is whether paid parking should be implemented on Main Street.”There are pros and cons with it,” Benkelman said. “I think there’s going to have to be a lot of evaluation to see if paid parking is right for our community. It has solved some parking issues in other communities. We want to take a slow, cautious approach and make sure we’re doing the right thing.”Transit plays a role in whatever management plan the town decides to implement.If employees were to be relocated from the free parking lots in town to outlying lots, the town would likely have to consider implementing more frequent bus service.Another strategy the town might consider is increasing the two-hour parking limits to three hours to give visitors more time to shop and eat.The council will also discuss the hours of operation for parking enforcement and paid parking.Jane Stebbins can be reached at (970) 668-3998, ext. 228, or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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