Downtown Aspen loading zones to be part of national pilot program |

Downtown Aspen loading zones to be part of national pilot program

Rene Medina unloads a shipment for The Ski Shop Aspen in a loading zone outside of Belly Up on Wednesday, Oct. 21, 2020. (Kelsey Brunner/The Aspen Times)
Kelsey Brunner/The Aspen Times

The city of Aspen has been selected to be part of a pilot program that will require delivery drivers to reserve curbside loading spaces in the downtown area and pay for the time they are in them.

Coord, a New York-based curb management company, selected Aspen to be a partner in the “Smart Zone” pilot program, with the goals of reducing congestion, improving safety and supporting local economic activity.

Smart Zones enable commercial drivers to use mobile devices to locate available loading zones and to hold, book and pay for time in them.

In downtown Aspen, which is 16 square blocks where $1 billion in retail economic activity is generated annually, the program is aimed at streamlining commercial deliveries that serve restaurants, retailers and other businesses.

From the beginning of November to the end of January, six loading zones and two alleys will be on a reservation-only basis where drivers pay 50 cents for 15 minutes, or $2 for two hours.

Mitch Osur, the city’s director of parking and downtown services, said the program will provide a lot of data on how commercial trucks use spaces in downtown, as well as how frequently.

“This partnership will make it possible for us to discover in more granular detail how our loading zones are utilized,” he said, noting that the condensed commercial core can get congested quickly with delivery trucks. “Our goal ultimately is to provide a more seamless, organized and coordinated delivery experience for both our commercial vendors and our business owners.”

For example, curb data can be used to create more loading space where it’s most needed, or help manage demand for it through pricing and time limits.

Smart Zones can improve the coordination, safety and convenience of curbside delivery and service vehicle loading.

Coord announced the launch of the “Digital Curb Challenge” in January, inviting cities across North America to apply, and more than 200 did.

“Aspen seemed like a great fit for the program given its extremely busy downtown, where continuous deliveries along the curb and in alleys are needed to support local businesses,” said Dawn Miller, head of policy and partnerships at Coord. “We were also impressed by the strength of the city of Aspen team. Their success in parking program innovation and deep understanding of the downtown environment suggested they would be excellent partners for designing and implementing this program.”

Osur estimated the value of Coord’s program to be between $50,000 and $75,000.

“It costs the city nothing,” he said, adding he is most interested in the data collection for future policy making.

The street locations that will be part of the Smart Zones are located at 200 S. Galena St. (by the Ute Mountaineer on the east side); 400 S. Galena St. (by Belly Up on the east side); 500 E. Cooper Ave. (by the old Boogies building on the north side); 100 S. Monarch St. (by Matsuhisa on the east side); 300 E. Hyman Ave. (by the Wheeler Opera House on the south side); 400 S. Original St. (by City Market on the west side); as well as the alleys between South Mill and Monarch streets.

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