Parking Whack-a-Mole

IPMI Blog 03-18-20By Blake Fitch, CAPP

In my last blog post, I wrote about transformation by communication. I explained the process used for adding an additional parking zone to the City of Aspen, Colo., for the first time since 1995. It didn’t take long to see the domino effect from making this change. Our parking director likes to refer to this as the Whack-a-Mole effect, meaning that when you address one issue, another pops up.

In another section of the city outside of the designated parking zones, a transformation was taking place. The vehicles displaced for the creation of an addition parking zone found another area to migrate to. Lone Pine Road became the new storage area for vehicles and trailers—some individual had even set up shop conducting business out of a small, converted bus.

It was difficult to find the right balance for the best use of the parking spaces in this area. This section of the city originally started out being regulated as 72-hour parking. Residents of the area as well as parking staff observed the creativity of the individuals parking here. Some of the parkers banded together and found a way to defeat this system by simply trading parking spaces with each other.

We then implemented a two-hour parking rule that was meant to promote the turnover of parking spaces. We had swung the pendulum too far, leaving the street’s parking virtually empty. In our latest attempt to remedy the issue we have designated these spaces as a 24-hour parking with strict enforcement. The results so far look promising for balancing turnover and occupancy. Only time will tell if the effect will be long lasting. The next step to try may be the implementation of a paid parking system in this area.

Blake Fitch, CAPP, is parking operations manager for the City of Aspen, Colo.