Some big changes could be coming to the parking garage inside Arvada’s Olde Town transit hub, including the eventual introduction of paid parking once the garage begins again regularly reaching …
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Some big changes could be coming to the parking garage inside Arvada’s Olde Town transit hub, including the eventual introduction of paid parking once the garage begins again regularly reaching certain capacity limits.
Earlier this month, the Arvada city council entered into a new intergovernmental agreement with RTD outlining how the garage will be managed going forward. That IGA comes after the expiration of an 18-month period in which the city analyzed demand trends inside the garage outlines several changes that will be made to the operation of the garage, including the elimination of requirements that certain spaces be reserved specifically for RTD users.
Here is a look at what changes and could be coming and how they will impact the garage’s users and the overall parking situation around Olde Town.
What’s already changing?
There are no more “RTD Parking Only” and “Public Parking Only” signs and spots.
When the G light rail line opened in 2019, the garage adopted a segregated parking system with 400 spots assigned to light rail users and 200 dedicated for use by those parking in the garage for reasons other than riding the light rail or busses. But starting on Oct. 1, those assigned spots were eliminated in favor of an open system allowing any user to park in any space in the garage. Vehicles that are parked beyond those time limits may be impounded and their owners cited.
“The reason is the garage has capacity to support additional parkers and as such we can take some of the confusion about who those parkers are and just let them park in any space in the garage,” said Andrew Vidor, the director planning for Walker Consultants, the city’s parking consultant. “We want to be able to allow public parkers to utilize those RTD spaces outside the traditional peak daytime hours so in the evening if you want to park on the ground floor in the evening you can because those spaces are largely unoccupied.”
What’s staying the same for now?
All users of the garage must continue to register their vehicle either via the free Passport Parking app or by using one of three kiosks located in the garage. Light rail and bus users are given the option of 12-hour commuter sessions or 24-hour DIA sessions when traveling to DIA and can park for up to 30 days if they update their registration in the app each day. Non-public transit users are limited to four-hour sessions.
When will drivers have to pay to park in the garage?
The IGA calls for the city to start charging for parking in the garage once it is routinely being filled to 85% of its capacity, which is considered the point when drivers begin to consider a garage full and might begin searching for parking elsewhere creating added pressure on surrounding Olde Town streets. According to RTD rules, paid parking could be used in the following way:
Transit users would be able to park in the garage for up to 24 hours for free. However, users could then be charge $2 a day if they live in Arvada’s RTD district or $4 a day if they live outside it, to park in the garage for up to 30 days. The city would also be able to increase the cost of daily parking in 50 cent increments up to $5 a day if capacity stays above 85% and decrease it in 50-cent increments if demand decreases to encourage more parking.
What will the revenues be used for?
According to the memo, revenue generated from the transit hub would be restricted to being used for maintenance of the hub and the implementation of tools that could help curb parking demand once spaces are maxed out. Arvada spent $415,000 in 2019 for the operation and maintenance of the Transit Hub. The IGA allows for parking feeds to generate up to $430,000 in revenue to cover operational and maintenance costs of the garage.
Gates to be installed in the garage?
Not anytime soon. According to a memo addressed to the city council, consultants hired by the city determined that while adopting an entry system involving gates and an attendant would lead to higher user compliance, there would not be enough of a difference to justify the change.
“The user compliance rate with the virtual garage is successful enough that changes are not financially justified especially since the purpose of the Transit Hub is not to generate revenue,” read the memo.
How is space currently being used in the garage?
From August to December of 2019, an average of 375 spaces were used during the peak of demand on a weekday. Of those, 342 were RTD spaces and 34 were public parking spaces, meaning that the garage was at 85 percent capacity for the RTD spaces. Demand was lower at the peak of the weekdays, with an average of 119 spaces used (92 RTD spaces and 27 public parking spaces). However, demand has dropped significant since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We have not analyzed that data but anecdotally yes, the reality is that garage is probably pretty empty right now,” said Vidor. “We are tracking as a firm those trends and the rebounds of that. Transit use is likely to be one of those uses that is going to take some time to recover until people have the confidence to get in those enclosed spaces.”
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