Aspen to increase parking fines for the first time in 20 years
After 20 years of holding the line with parking fines, the city of Aspen is upping citations next month.
One of the main reasons to make the change is to reduce the abuse city staff see with people who violate the four-hour maximum to park in the downtown core.
Beginning on July 5, the “core overtime citation” is going from $30 to $50 and then steadily increasing to $100 and $200 for multiple offenses, with a municipal court date as a final solution for the most egregious scofflaws.
“By increasing the citation, it discourages the misuse of core parking and encourages drivers to comply with parking rules,” said PJ Murray, a project manager in the city’s engineering department. “The increased compliance with the four-hour time limit will increase parking space turnover and provide more parking availability in the core.”
Four other citations are being increased to create consistency with other municipalities.
The last time the city increased the citation fines was in 2002, and Murray said Aspen’s citations are significantly lower than most communities across the nation.
Parking fines for overtime in a timed zone will go from $30 to $50; no valid payment, $30 to $50; illegal parking, $50 to $75; and abuse of handicap/ADA parking spaces, $100 to $250.
Murray said the increases are designed to educate, encourage and enforce motorists to comply with all parking regulations in the core.
She added that the fines were reviewed and approved by municipal court Judge Brooke Peterson and determined as equitable throughout town and reasonable increases based on national averages.
The move is part of the city’s Pedestrian and Bicycle Masterplan, the Downtown Enhancement Pedestrian Project and Aspen Area Community Plan.
“There are multiple factors that go into getting people to change their mobility patterns,” Murray said. “The changes to the parking program are designed to promote a safer and fairer experience with parking but even more so to encourage a personal reduction in fossil fuel consumption.”
Since early last year, the city’s parking and engineering departments have explored options to create a safer parking experience for drivers and other users interacting with vehicles.
The city’s Safety in the Core project combines the goals of increasing safety, mobility and equity in Aspen’s right-of-way throughout the commercial core.
The work includes the Galena and Cooper living lab, which will test temporary cyclist and pedestrian improvements and parking spot reclassifications from late June through September.
The city will evaluate the living lab’s level of success at the end of the summer following data collection and various public outreach like sidewalk surveys and pop-up events.
With many lingering questions still surrounding the fate of Aspen’s historic Old Powerhouse, City Council decided during Monday’s work session to hold off on providing staff direction on moving the preservation project forward until more information can be presented.