Paid parking looming in the wings
By Mark Reaman
The Crested Butte Town Council has hired the Interstate Parking Company to prepare a comprehensive parking management plan for town. That could lead to the implementation of a parking program for Crested Butte that includes paid parking.
Crested Butte community development director Michael Yerman told the council at the August 7 meeting that three proposals were received in a an RFP (Request for Proposals) process. Interstate had done some consulting work for the town previously. They handle the parking system in Breckenridge and a local review committee unanimously recommended they be chosen. They will devise a web-based parking system that is meant to be “flexible, efficient, effective and financially sustainable.”
“Data collection will begin immediately,” Yerman explained. “We realize that we probably missed the very peak of the season in July but we don’t want to build a church for Easter anyway.”
The town wants to hold public meetings with Interstate in August and September with the goal to have a completed management plan in front of the council in October.
“I am still unconvinced that paid parking will solve anything,” said mayor Jim Schmidt. “But I hope this study will convince me one way or the other. So I can support spending $12,000 on a study.”
“Changing people’s behavior is the goal,” said Yerman. “We’ve heard that from the surveys we are doing and from the council. Economics changes behavior.”
“It has been pretty apparent this summer that we need to do something,” said councilman Will Dujardin. “It came up all the time.”
“We know we have a problem so the study might help us find a solution,” added councilman Paul Merck.
Yerman also brought up what he called the “Vail effect.” He said that when Park City was bought by Vail they quickly saw a significant increase in parking demand.
“My only goal is to get people out of their cars,” said councilman Jackson Petito. “I anticipate a lot of public blowback on the idea of paid parking and I want to hear all the feedback. But right now we are just approving a study.”
The contract with Interstate is for $12,826.