Rules of carpooling get easier
ASPEN Beginning Monday, carpooling to Aspen will be a little easier – for everyone but the kids, that is.Formerly, Aspen carpool permits required three occupants to qualify for a free parking pass during high season in summer and winter, but starting Monday, just two people of driving age, or one driver with an infant, will be eligible to park in either carpool or residential zones.Drivers must pick up permits for the free-parking perk each day at the parking kiosk at the Aspen/Pitkin County Airport – city officials will no longer hand out passes at the Rio Grande parking garage.The change comes after heated debate and a City Council decision May 28 to include infants in the carpool count because area buses cannot accommodate child seats. Children old enough to ride buses do not count as carpool passengers under the new rule.Parking officials hope the move will encourage carpooling.”The idea is that every car pool takes another car off the road,” said parking director Tim Ware. “We’re actually thinking the number of carpool permits will increase. That’s the intent.”Ware said the city will no longer offer carpool parking passes at the Rio Grande Parking Garage because commuters were taking advantage of the multiple stations and getting extra passes for friends.The parking department offices are moving to 540 E. Main St. (the Zupancis House). The City Hall offices of the parking department will become temporary space for community development workers, Ware said.Drivers can still pay parking tickets at City Hall, and Ware said all forms will be available there, but the new Main Street space will handle refilling prepaid parking meters and any other queries. Motorists can also handle ticket appeals and pay online at http://www.aspenpitkin.com.”It’s not the first time we’ve not been there,” Ware said: At other times the parking department was in the Wheeler Opera House, the Aspen Police Department – and once in a construction trailer, he said.”This works out well for us,” Ware said, adding that he hopes there will be space in future plans and renovations of government offices downtown. “For now, we’re just rolling with the punches,” Ware said.Charles Agar’s e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
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