Chautauqua Parking Test Program

April 21, 2012

The beatings will continue until morale improves — or should I say, parking tickets will be issued until we leave our cars at home. Motor vehicles are considered a suspect class in Boulder, so driving disincentives abound. However, our land use patterns require most people to drive almost everywhere to do almost anything.

Through infill and redevelopment, we have made some progress over the past decade re-mixing our land uses, creating walkable neighborhoods and enabling some lucky individuals and families to work, shop and play closer to where they sleep. The EcoPass program separates transit use from the fare box for some, and higher frequency buses along some of Boulder’s transit corridors has also improved the convenience of bus usage, but for most of us, the reality of our cluttered lives and ubiquitous obligations keeps us behind the wheel.

The popularity of Boulder’s Open Space and Mountain Parks puts continual pressure on trailheads and parking lots like those at Chautauqua. We used to have a trolley line from downtown to Chautauqua, but that service ended several generations ago. More’s the pity. Restoring the trolley is not an option today. I fear the Chautauqua test program will be a nightmare for the park’s nearby neighborhoods. Clamping down there will result in more cars being parked in the near vicinity, wherever parking restrictions do not exist. Diligent enforcement is likely to drive good people away muttering, people who pay city sales taxes elsewhere in Boulder without complaint. We’ll miss them when they’re gone.

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