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Thursday night marked the fifth and final in a series of city council study sessions intended to analyse and find solutions to the current parking situation in Boulder. The discussion covered a wide array of topics, from potential solutions to the lack of parking in highly populated neighborhoods, such as University Hill, to the need for a more comprehensive route system from the Regional Transportation District (RTD).
For many CU students, perhaps the most pertinent changes discussed over the course of the five study sessions was the potential for a ‘graded scale’ to be introduced to the parking ticket system. The city is currently charging $15 per parking offense, whereas the graded scale would have people pay $25 per offense, and then increase the penalty gradually for repeat offenders. A conclusion has yet to be drawn regarding this policy, though it does look likely to go through within the next year.
Similar topics discussed were the prices of parking permits and short term parking meter costs, all of which look likely to increase. Further meetings will be held in 2016 with the aim that council members will reach an agreement on the price increases.
Another issue discussed was the potential for the entire city of Boulder to become a parking district. “We keep saying that eventually all of Boulder is going to be a parking district, and I think it may come to that,” Mayor Matt Applebaum said.
“This makes no sense to me,” councilman George Karakehian said. “…that we would try to have a one-size-fits-all [district] for our city. I don’t know what that accomplishes.”
The overall desire of the city council is that Boulder residents will make as few journeys as possible by car. The city’s investment in the RTD, bike lanes and bike paths are all efforts to make it easier for people to get around without a car. While carbon emissions are always a consideration in the city of Boulder, the real issue is space. Central Boulder simply does not have the space to accommodate large numbers of cars. The result of this is that, as Karakehian put it, cars begin to “spill over into neighborhoods.”
Though the series of study sessions has come to an end, discussions will continue in to 2016, and it will likely be mid-spring before any changes take place.