Locals say goodbye to the ‘two-hour shuffle’ | AspenTimes.com

Locals say goodbye to the ‘two-hour shuffle’

Aspen, CO Colorado

Although it appears City Hall worked earnestly to find a happy medium for everyone involved in Aspen’s parking crunch, it didn’t do much to help its perception in the eyes of the downvalley commuter.

Meeting at a work session Monday, the Aspen City Council unanimously approved a sweeping overhaul of its neighborhood parking regulations, as well as how to enforce them. The parking ordinance is expected to be formally approved at a future City Council meeting, and the new regulations should take effect next winter.

In other words, say goodbye to the so-called “two-hour shuffle.” That practice has been mastered by motorists who parked in the free two-hour zone in a three-block radius off the downtown area. They did it by moving their cars every 120 minutes to avoid a ticket. They got so good at it, City Hall decided to put an end to this game of cat-and-mouse.

First, the city plans to spend $70,000 on a License Plate Recognition (LPR) system, which will allow them to better track motorists who are moving their cars around and promptly slap them with a ticket.

The city plans to spend another $20,000 on a pilot “congestion pricing” program that would explore possibilities of charging motorists for driving in certain areas of Aspen at particular times. The city is examining similar programs used in London and Stockholm ” cities that are exponentially larger than Aspen.

Put simply, motorists would be billed by the city based on when and where they parked their vehicles.

All told, the city expects annual revenues of approximately $550,000 because of the new parking measures.

To the city’s credit, it will allow two hours of free parking in the residential areas, and it has ditched the idea of expanding paid parking in residential areas by installing 75 parking meters.

But there’s something awfully troubling about the city’s approach to 21st century parking enforcement. The LPR system smacks of Big Brother government, and it’s this type of enforcement that is making adversaries out of locals who more or less support our City Council’s agenda and philosophy.

The idea of the city tracking our every footstep (make that wheel revolution) only feeds the perception that our local government is becoming too invasive. While the city seems to be on the right track in finding a compromise we can all live with, we urge it to find another way to monitor vehicles. Not abandoning the current shoe-gum method, in which parking employees chalk vehicles’ tires, is a good place to begin.


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