Parking patrol turns to high-tech ticketing |

Parking patrol turns to high-tech ticketing

Steve Benson
Lance Stringham displays the "E CHALK" ticket he received last week. Aspen Times photo/Mark Fox.

If you thought parking in Aspen was already a pain, you’re gonna love this. The city parking department is now occasionally using an electronic device instead of chalk to monitor cars in the two-hour, free parking spaces in the residential zone.Ticketing officers simply type the car’s license plate number into their system along with the time and location. If the car isn’t moved in two hours, it will be ticketed. Marking the cars with chalk used to give motorists a heads up that they needed to move their cars. Now, the only way to ensure you won’t get a ticket is to move your car every two hours.

For people who work in Aspen and use the free spaces in the neighborhoods surrounding the core, the move to the electronic monitoring system is frustrating. “I think it’s a crock,” said Lance Stringham, who works at Carl’s Pharmacy. “It’s a pain in the ass.” Tim Ware, director of parking, said no tickets have been issued thus far under the new electronic system. The parking department has had the system in place for a couple of years, but began utilizing it only recently.”All we’ve been doing is experimenting,” Ware said. “That’s bullshit,” Stringham said, pulling out a ticket he received on March 17 that was labeled “E CHALK.”

Ware said the parking department decided to implement the electronic system after several motorists were observed removing chalk marks from their tires. “There seems to be this big misconception that people have two hours from the chalk mark up,” Ware said. “They have two hours, whether chalk has been marked or not.” Ware added that in the driver’s defense, sometimes the chalk doesn’t come off, which means it’s possible they could receive an undeserved ticket. While the electronic method does require more time from the ticketing officer, Ware said it’s “definitely a fool-proof system.”

“It goes both ways – it prevents us from making mistakes as well.” In addition to angering local employees, the new electronic system may also be life altering. “That is awful, I’m going to have to take the bus more often now,” said Alida Baker, also a Carl’s employee. Steve Benson’s e-mail address is

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