Residential parking paying off for Aspen |

Residential parking paying off for Aspen

ASPEN – Residential paid parking has apparently paid off for the city of Aspen. More than $234,000 in new revenue has been generated since the program was established in December.

At the beginning of this year, the city eliminated motorists’ ability to park more than two hours a day on neighborhood streets in a three-block radius off the downtown area.

Since then, the city has issued $112,480 worth of tickets in those zones, representing 17 percent of all citations issued, said Sally Spaulding, the city’s community relations specialist. Residential day pass and construction vehicle sales account for $121,680.

When the program was put into place, parking officials estimated that residential pass sales would bring in $550,000 annually.

Despite the new revenue, the city’s parking department is down 11 percent year to date compared to 2008, according to Tim Ware, the city’s parking director.

The department had been 14 percent down but the busy summer months pushed the numbers up, Ware said.

August numbers aren’t finalized yet but Ware said he expects that the revenue realized in that month will bring the department to 9 percent down.

Like all city departments, Ware attributes the decline to the recession – there are fewer construction projects occurring in town and fewer visitors coming through.

“There are 27 less vehicles out there right now,” he said.

What is taking the biggest hit, however, is the Rio Grande parking garage, which is 30 percent down in revenues.

The parking and transportation department’s budget for this year is $4.3 million in revenue. A portion of that money funds the city’s in-town bus service, which is being cut back as a result of the down economy.

“This downturn is affecting everybody,” Ware said. “We’re all feeling it.”

But Ware is hopeful that the offseason will be strong.

“We are confident that our offseason will be as good or above last year,” he said, adding that his prediction doesn’t include construction vehicle permit sales.

This clarification was published Sept. 11:

In Sept. 8 article about parking, revenue from paid parking was mischaracterized. It is not new revenue; rather the city has been collecting money from tickets and day passes in residential areas long before residential zones were established last December. Also, there are 27 percent fewer vehicles in town.

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