Basalt adopts timed parking
BASALT The Basalt Town Council on Tuesday night approved a plan to place two-hour restrictions on 90 parking spaces where people currently can park all day.The plan is designed to free spaces for customers of shops and restaurants downtown. Spaces near the core stay congested with employees of Basalt businesses, and commuters who drive to catch a bus.Gallery owner Lynne Mace said the downtown businesses will die on the vine with the development of the Willits commercial area if downtown’s parking crunch isn’t addressed. Only a handful of the 349 public spaces are restricted to two hours or less.A committee of merchants, residents and town officials recommended the parking alterations.Spaces on Midland Spur from Town Hall to the library and on Midland Avenue from the Green Drake Inn to St. Vincent Catholic Church will be converted to two-hour parking. A handful of all-day spots will remain on the west end of Midland Spur and far end of Midland Avenue.Spaces will also be converted to two-hour slots on Two Rivers Road across from the Wienerstube.Town-owned land along Midland Addition, between the post office and skateboard park can accommodate about 80 vehicles for commuters and employees, Town Manager Bill Efting said. It’s a “Band-Aid,” he warned, because the library district is purchasing the property, and it will be unavailable next year.Nevertheless, the council endorsed the parking plan to support commerce. Members said they want the police department to ease into enforcement by issuing warnings for using restricted spaces for more than two hours. They also want the town plastered with fliers and signs so drivers know about their parking options.People haven’t had to be concerned too much about where they park in Basalt: “Our enforcement policy has never been that Gestapo-like,” Efting said.The council was certain the new restrictions – and enforcement – will capture the town’s attention.”It’s an important public issue, and I’m sure we’re going to hear from the public about it,” said Councilman Glenn Rappaport.”I have a sneaking suspicion we’re going to learn real soon,” Efting agreed.No one is town government is even mentioning an interest in paid parking.
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