Pitkin County aims to beef up Lenado parking
September 8, 2010
ASPEN – County commissioners said Tuesday they would ask the Pitkin County Sheriff’s Office to better enforce limited parking on Woody Creek Road this year.
“We can’t demand; we can’t require; but we can direct,” said Commissioner Jack Hatfield.
Commissioner Rachel Richards said the board would ask the sheriff’s department for an estimate of how much such an effort would cost.
Pitkin County wants to implement a solidified parking system on the portion of the road above Lenado that snowmobilers and cross-country skiers frequent before winter arrives.
Current designated parking allows for 12 vehicles with snowmobile trailers to park on the road at one time, said county Public Works Director Brian Pettet. About 17 vehicles can fit if they don’t have trailers.
Commissioners said they want to work with the U.S. Forest Service to implement more parking and a better infrastructure to access the various recreation opportunities in the area.
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Last year, they OK’d parking in that area at the beginning of December.
The discussion was part of a road safety plan by a county task force to address several concerns about the narrow and winding road, including its deteriorating surface, the potential for falling rocks and one-lane sections.
The task force plans to install new signs to indicate narrow portions of the road, new access paths to snowmobile and cross-country skiing trails, and possibly more parking along the road close to Lenado.
But the access trails would require a significant environmental study that could cost more than $100,000, county staff told commissioners.
And the task force would have to address concerns among nearby landowners who don’t want parking and snowmobile noise near their homes.
Commissioners also told county staff to create and install signs advertising time limits on the parking spaces. The limits were installed last year, staff said, but were taken down because they were not part of the original parking plan.
Howard Vagneur, a member of the task force, said people have left their vehicles in the parking facilities for as long as a week, taking advantage of the thin enforcement.
The commissioners formed the task force, made up mostly of people who live close to Woody Creek Road and county staff, in March to find a middle ground.