The town is growing up…
As one drives into town from the south, one of the first sights is a line of vehicles parked near the stop sign at Sixth Street and Belleview Avenue. Trucks, trailers, snowmobiles, vans and cars all sit there with “For Sale” signs in the windows. Crested Butte town manager Susan Parker doesn’t think that is a good look for the town.
“I have noticed it since I first got here,” she said. “A lot more people are parking their vehicles in the public parking lots by the Four-way Stop or in the public rights-of-way in highly visible locations. It is starting to look like one big used car lot.”
Parker would like the Town Council to adopt an ordinance prohibiting people from abusing the town’s public property. “People shouldn’t use public property for private benefit,” she said. “And doesn’t it make sense to have a nice clean corridor that is attractive? If we are trying to promote green spaces when you arrive in the town, and come across as a nice place for families and tourists, a used car lot is not the right look.”
Crested Butte mayor Alan Bernholtz said he understood Parker’s point of view but was reluctant to impose penalties for people parking their cars. “I get it but I want the town to keep some of its unique qualities. I want the town to retain some adolescence. I understand the town is growing up but it’s not easy for me.”
He suggested having the police nudge those who abuse the parking privilege, not by issuing tickets but by using discretion and “brain power.” Parker said that approach has been tried.
“There are other places and other ways to sell cars,” she said. “Don’t you want those parking spaces to go to people using the RTA or those going to an Alpenglow concert or shopping?”
“Maybe we should save the spaces for the right kind of people,” quipped councilman Dan Escalante. “How do you really regulate it?”
Councilman Skip Berkshire was concerned about over-regulation and suggested making a two-hour time limit for parked vehicles.
Parker said she would craft a regulation for the council to consider and limit it to the area along Highway 135 and Elk Avenue.
In the meantime, councilman Reed Betz said he would consider moving his Westfalia campervan that he has for sale—parked over by Sixth and Belleview.