Glenwood businessman airs parking beef | AspenTimes.com

Glenwood businessman airs parking beef

John Gardner
Glenwood Springs correspondent
Aspen, CO Colorado

GLENWOOD SPRINGS – Larry Gruber is fed up with parking on Cooper Avenue.

Gruber’s Glenwood Music Inc., located at 715 Cooper Ave. in Glenwood Springs, says that for the past four years, he has run into a problem with downtown residents parking in front of his store for days at a time. And when the winter dumps huge amounts of snow, as with this recent winter storm, Gruber said that oftentimes the vehicles get plowed in and the owners just leave the cars parked.

And Gruber claims that the city and Glenwood Springs Police have not done anything about it.

“This is the fourth winter I’ve had to battle with the police and City Council over this issue,” Gruber said.

The problem occurs because Glenwood Springs Police Department issues residents, who live within the city’s downtown core, residential parking permits that allows them to park on their street for periods extending past the two-hour downtown parking restrictions.

Downtown Glenwood Springs, including much of the residential areas on nearby streets, has a two-hour parking restriction in place, Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. However, the city’s residential parking pass program allows residents to park in one space for up to 72 hours without moving their vehicle.

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But Gruber says that permit holders don’t always follow the rule and, he says, the police don’t enforce it.

“These people leave their car parked there for weeks if you let them,” Gruber said.

However, Police Chief Terry Wilson said that the code enforcement officer deals with the issues as they arise, within the limitations of the rules.

“We deal with the situation, but we do it under the rules,” Wilson said. “It’s a constant battle. They are required to follow the city’s code that their car be moved every 72 hours, but we find that that is the problem.”

The code enforcement officer will red-tag a vehicle that has been stationary for longer than 72 hours, will attempt to track down the owner of the vehicle through the registration permit number, and attempt to get the vehicle moved, according to Wilson. If the car is not moved then, it will be towed, Wilson said.

But that does not always solve the problem. According to Wilson, the program requires that a vehicle be physically moved every 72 hours, but it only has to be moved from one spot to another. The residential permits are issued for the street, and block, where a resident resides. And they can move their vehicle to a space anywhere along the street. Even if that space is right next to the one it was previously parked in.

“You have people moving their cars over the course of the week,” Wilson said. “But the real problem we have is when they leave it there for four or five days and don’t move it within the 72 hours.”

And, Wilson agreed, that heavy snowfalls can contribute to the problem with residents leaving their cars parked for longer than the 72-hour period.

“People forgetting about the 72-hour restriction results in an awful lot of towings this time of year,” Wilson said.

Wilson said that the program was created to help downtown residents, but created other problems for the code enforcement officer. While Gruber would like to see a change in the rules, Wilson said that it’s hard to please everyone.

“We have a system in place, which can be changed,” Wilson said. “I just don’t know what that would be. Parking is always going to be a wrestling match. Trying to meet the needs of the commercial businesses and with the residents, there is not a perfect solution.

Wilson said also, that while Gruber’s complaints may be warranted, complaints from other businesses over the years have been minimal. The current program, in Wilson’s opinion, works pretty well.

“Its function, for the most part, works pretty well,” Wilson said. “We don’t have huge amounts of complaints.”

jgardner@postindependent.com