Morrison’s paid parking program that started July 1 is seeing some growing pains as business owners wrestle with the program’s pros and cons. Butch Luedtke, owner of the Morrison Inn that is one …
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Morrison’s paid parking program that started July 1 is seeing some growing pains as business owners wrestle with the program’s pros and cons.
Butch Luedtke, owner of the Morrison Inn that is one of the town’s largest employers, told the Town Board on July 6 that he had two issues with the trial program that started July 1. He is concerned his regular customers — not tourists — are becoming frustrated with paying for parking and will not frequent his and other businesses, especially during non-peak months. He also is concerned about his employees’ safety as they walk long distances to their cars on dark roads where parking is free.
“I would greatly appreciate it if you would reconsider (the paid parking program),” Luedtke told the board. “My employees would appreciate it, and my regulars would appreciate it.”
The town’s parking committee hopes to meet with business owners soon to get their feedback to make adjustments as the summer progresses. The trial period ends Sept. 30.
Mayor Sean Forey told Luedtke that the parking program was new to everyone, and town officials were just beginning to get feedback. He noted that the parking system was begun in response to businesses’ concerns about the lack of parking in downtown Morrison.
Board member Katie Gill, who serves on the parking committee, said one of the intents of paid parking was to stop people from parking in prime spaces while they were on bike rides.
Interstate Parking of Colorado has created a trial parking management system for downtown parking spots. The first 30 minutes are free, with the next 30 minutes $1. The second hour costs $1.50, third hour $2, fourth hour $3 and subsequent hours $5. A violation is $30 and doubles in 10 days for nonpayment.
Interstate, which also operates similar systems in Idaho Springs, Breckenridge, Keystone and more, uses kiosks placed throughout the downtown area and a smartphone app.
“I come tonight I believe speaking for hundreds of customers that I’ve heard from in the last couple of weeks,” Luedtke told the board. “Some are in favor, and some are against (paid parking). I’ve got customers telling me they are not coming back, and most are regular customers. These are people who are so important to us because they help us survive through the winter. To miss 50, or 60 or 100 of those people two to three times a week … it will take a lot of parking spots to make up what we’re losing.”
Regarding employee parking, Luedtke said parents have called, upset about the distance their children are walking to get to their cars after a work shift. Someone has suggested that employees leave the restaurant at 7:45 p.m. nightly to move their cars closer to the restaurant after the town stops charging for parking, an unworkable scenario in a busy restaurant, he said. In addition, it will soon be darker earlier, exacerbating the problem.
Town officials said they were trying hard to meet businesses’ needs.
“Let’s work really hard,” Forey told the board, “to talk with all the businesses in town.”
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