June 23, 2016 Vol. 15 No. 31
Council OKs 2-hour parking limit for lower Ruxton Avenue
Written by Jeanne Davant   

Socks appeal

062316_Soules-cover 062316_Soules-conversation

Top, Alea German and Natalie Johnson walk across the ledge in Memorial Park to display their unusual socks and shoes during Saturday’s Manitou Soules event.

Above, from left, Sandy Jaray, Lynn Lee and Laurie Wood admire each others’ shoes during the Manitou Soules project.

Photos by Kaitlyn Cashdollar

A pilot project limiting parking on lower Ruxton Avenue to two hours will begin after the July 4 weekend and run through Sept. 30.

Council formally approved the project Tuesday.

After repeated requests from 10 business owners on lower Ruxton, the Parking Authority Board voted unanimously to present to Council a plan to lower the limit from the current three hours, board member Bill Koerner said.

“This area is sort of a little island — part of downtown yet also part of Ruxton,” Koerner said.

“It gets lots of use by Incline users. To try to encourage a better business climate, we felt this was worth a try.”

Business owners on lower Ruxton have observed vehicles occupying the spaces adjacent to their businesses long past the three-hour limit.

“On September 6, 2015 two cars parked in front of our store for the duration of the business day,” Mike Graham, owner of Ruxton’s Trading Post, stated in a Sept. 9 letter to the Parking Authority Board. “Both cars were hikers.”

At the May 24 Council work session on the city’s parking contract, Koerner said hikers were taking advantage of a flaw in the parking system that was allowing longer parking on lower Ruxton.

Councilor Randy Hodges asked if there are enough parking enforcement officers to monitor the spaces at two-hour intervals.

“They won’t necessarily be there right on the dot of two hours, but they will do the best they can,” Senior Planner Michelle Anthony said.

Hodges then asked what criteria would help Council determine whether the project was successful.

Koerner said the project would include data gathering by SP+, the city’s parking contractor, to include the number of cars using the spaces.

“We’ve got a lot of data capability,” Koerner said. “By having a trial period when we have users using the Incline and the period after when there are no Incline users, we have an opportunity to learn,” he said. The Incline will close for repairs Aug. 22.

“I want to see increases in their sales tax,” Councilor Coreen Toll said.

Anthony said she did not think it would be possible to compare sales tax collections before and after closure of the Incline, since state law requires sales tax data to be reported by category rather than individual businesses.

But other data “would give us a good baseline for comparison,” Anthony said.

“This could serve as a pilot for what may roll into downtown at a future time,” Koerner said.