Cut locals a parking break |

Cut locals a parking break

It’s become an almost annual tradition, The Aspen Times’ plea to the city of Aspen to give everyone a break on the parking laws during the off-season.

Each spring and fall, when parking spaces abound, we kindly ask the town to do the right thing. This is an expensive place to live, and we all work hard to get by, and most of us contribute to the community in some way. It would be a nice gesture by the city to waive its onerous parking laws during the slow months when locals are the only people using the spaces.

However, each year our plea falls on deaf ears, and residents continue to do the two-hour shuffle or risk hefty fines downtown. There’s nothing more frustrating than stopping by a downtown ski shop to drop off your gear for tuning (a 10-minute errand at most) only to discover you have no quarters in your pocket. You race in, race back out, and there’s that big green envelope on your windshield.

The Times’ hope is that we’ll have better luck this year, thanks to the election of Torre. When he made his unsuccessful mayoral bid and his successful council bid, changing the parking system was something he put high on his list of campaign promises. It’s a disincentive to visitors and unfair to locals, he told everyone.

Well, Torre, here’s your chance. Granted, you are one member in a council of five. But should you be willing to make good on your campaign promise and fight for a better system, you’d likely have strong support from the community.

A good first step would be a proposal like the one outlined above. Draft a well-worded motion, get it on a council agenda and call for a public hearing. Christmas is coming, and paying off all these parking tickets is really cutting into a lot of folks’ present-buying budgets. (And, that’s money we could be spending at downtown businesses, which need our support now more than ever.)

It was hard not to notice the big headlines new Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper got when he made good on his pledge to make paid parking more affordable. If Hickenlooper can do it, we’re sure Torre can do it, too. And we promise him a big headline on the front page.

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