Aspen to test drive valet parking? |

Aspen to test drive valet parking?

Anyone trying to park a vehicle in downtown Aspen on a summer evening may wind up leaving their car in the vicinity of Timbuktu ” hence, a city proposal to institute valet parking.

Tonight, the City Council is scheduled to discuss contracting with a private operation to park cars.

The contractor would park the vehicles in the city’s Rio Grande parking garage and retrieve them for motorists; the valet service would operate along the 400 block of East Hopkins Avenue, where an evening-only private contractor has run a similar operation for years.

The trial run this summer, however, would offer both daytime and evening valet service, seven days a week, at $15 per vehicle between 11 a.m. and 6 p.m. and $20 per vehicle from 6 p.m. to 2 a.m.

The city would charge the contractor $2.50 per every two hours a valet-parked car is in the garage.

“Parking and traffic congestion are at the worst during the summer months in Aspen,” notes a staff report to the council.

The purpose of the proposed valet system is twofold, according to the memo: to decrease congestion and motorists “trolling” for a spot while better utilizing space in the garage, and providing the resort’s downtown patrons with a convenient parking alternative and “superlative customer service.”

If the council proceeds with the service, staffers are recommending a review at the end of the summer, at which time the council can decide whether or not to resume valet parking for the winter season.

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