City tests expanded valet parking in core |

City tests expanded valet parking in core

Janet Urquhart

A parking space in downtown Aspen is tougher to find in the summertime than rental skis.Motorists can circle endlessly, or they can pull up on Hopkins Avenue, across from the Isis, and hand their keys to a valet. The City Council agreed Monday to contract with Jay’s Valet Parking Services to provide daytime and evening valet parking as a summer experiment.Since 1995, various operators have provided evening valet parking, primarily on Thursdays through Sundays, from that spot. This will be the first time the city has tried daytime valet parking, as well.The city terminated its most recent contract, with Valley Valet, on June 1, according to Tim Ware, head of the city’s Parking Department. Chronic problems with past operators have included the tendency to park cars all over the commercial core instead of taking them to the Rio Grande parking garage, where they’re supposed to be parked.Ware’s department will have a better chance to keep an eye on things with the daytime component of the new operation, he said.The trial run this summer includes 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 will charge the valet service $2.50 per every two hours a valet-parked car is in the garage.During the summer, parking spaces in the core are about 94 percent full at lunchtime and 100 percent filled in the evening, according to Ware.”In fact, I would say it’s about 110 percent if you look at all the illegally parked cars,” he added.”I think it’s worth doing the experiment,” said Mayor Helen Klanderud, expressing hope that the expanded valet service helps reduce congestion resulting from motorists cruising endlessly in search of a parking space.The mayor also suggested the city work to dispel the notion that the service is only for the elite, or patrons of the nearby, private Caribou Club.New Councilman Jack Johnson suggested users of the service be surveyed.”Are they either too lazy or too stupid to find the parking garage?” he said.The council is expected to review the program at the end of the summer and decide whether or not it wants to continue it for the winter season.Janet Urquhart’s e-mail address is