Two-hour parking rule gets go-ahead in Aspen |

Two-hour parking rule gets go-ahead in Aspen

ASPEN ” Come this February, motorists will no longer be allowed to park in the same residential area for more than two hours.

The Aspen City Council on Monday passed an ordinance that puts a two-hour limit on free park­ing in neighborhoods.

The City Council also signed off on a license plate recognition (LPR) system that uses an opti­cal scanner. The system will enable parking offi­cers to better enforce the two-hour free rule, by which drivers will be forbidden from parking in the same residential zone for more than 120 min­utes in a 24-hour period.

Each time the unit reads a license plate, it is matched with a database of parked vehicles for the day and alerts the parking officer to a match if the vehicle is in violation of the two-hour limit. The LPR system also eliminates tire chalking and the ability of the vehicle’s owner to spin their wheels or rub the chalk off their tires.

Council members stressed on Monday that in order to address citizens’ concerns about their civil liberties being violated, the data collected from the LPR system will be purged daily, and no personal information will be stored in the city’s database.

The two-hour rule will apply to all residential areas located within three blocks off the commercial core. Those who feel they must drive and park all day will be able to buy a day pass for $7. Fifteen parking meters in residential areas will be installed and will dispense the day passes.

An LPR system for Aspen is expected to cost $98,000. New signs will cost $10,000, and the new pay-and-display stations will be $250,000. Those costs will be offset by an estimated $260,000 in additional revenue annually, parking officials said.

Citizen Shellie Roy spoke against the ordinance, saying it’s not designed to get cars off the road, but instead, is just another money-maker for the city coffers.

“What sticks in my craw about this program is that it feels like it’s only about generating rev­enue,” she said.

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