Parking in Old Town.

Yes, it is a problem. A pretty big problem, actually.

As some of you readers may know, if you have been paying attention and have an excellent memory, I work in Old Town. I can count on at least one customer every day complaining about parking. Usually it’s more than one. I really am sick of hearing about it. There is nothing I can do to help you park except recommend you don’t come to Old Town between the hours of 11-2 because everyone is out for lunch. Or park in the garage. The first hour is free. When I make this recommendation I hear “I don’t want to walk that far.” Seriously? It’s like a block from my work. Not that difficult at all. Sometimes I am in disbelief at how lazy our society has become. Everyone wants what they want right now with no wait, no walking and gratification of the instant variety. Makes me miss living in London. That magnificent city has very accessible public transportation and people don’t seem to mind walking. It is just a way of life.

Downtown is very busy, and as Fort Collins continues to grow (and it will) it will be even more busy. Where do I park when I go to work? I park three blocks away and hoof it to work. And I honestly don’t mind. My husband just started working in Old Town and feels guilty that he has a parking pass for his work. I told him to stop being silly, that I am used to walking and I really don’t mind. Have I got a ticket before by parking over time in a 2 hour parking spot? You bet your ass I have. I have even been a victim to the parking lot behind the Rio. They mean it when they say $100 fine. It may even be up to $200 by now. The city really does monitor parking VERY closely. We call the meter-maids (meter-men?) the parking Nazis. They are strict and unforgiving. One day I even saw a man chewing one of them out. I don’t even think it was his car. He told the guy “you are making life really difficult for a lot of people.” Was he? Maybe so, but he is also just doing his job. Not his rules, just something he does for a living. Guy’s gotta eat.

Still, there are ways around the two hour limit.

First of all, your first ticket is just a warning and, after six months, you get a clean slate. So, every six months you can park for more than 2 hours in Old Town with just a slap on the wrist. Another secret? The parking people don’t check after 5pm. Yep, it’s a government job, 9-5, no earlier, no later. You can park at 3:01pm and be good for the rest of the afternoon/evening. You’re welcome.

So, the city has begun discussions on whether or not to add parking meters to busy on street, on demand, parking spaces. Hmmm. So many thoughts on this. My first thought is that there will be a lot of bitching going on. And, if they do put in meters, I will have to get an ear full every time someone comes into my shop. Even though there is nothing I can do about it, nor will my boss move her business. Also, I really don’t think that it will make parking in Old Town any easier. This just means that if you have the money, you can live in your parking spot for more than two hours. Turnover rate will be low, bitching will be high.

There is something about working in old town. I love it. I love the energy, I love the shopping, I love going out for cocktails or a beer after work. I love how charming it is and how much restaurant variety we are lucky to have. But I definitely do not like the parking situation. Do we need a change? I think so, but…

Fort Collins, a lot of people are going to be pissed off about metered parking.

Personally, I won’t. I will just park far away and walk. But, then again, will it be more difficult to park further away because people will be doing the same thing? That will piss me off. It will be annoying to hear people complain, so that might piss me off too. Then, we may lose business because people wont come to Old Town to pay for parking. Then I will lose my job. OK. Then I will get really pissed off. Let’s not put in these meters. I would like to keep my job, thank you very much.

My solution? The lot where the Elks building was on Remington should be turned into a parking lot. It is right next to a parking lot anyway. Nothing has occupied that space in ages. Turn it into free parking, two hour of course, and all will be well. Really, all we need are a few more parking options.

And, people, stop bitching. We live in one of the most desirable places in the U.S. don’t make it less desirable by complaining about little things. Life is just too damn short.

What did you think of Robyn’s post? Check back on Friday to see what Skippy has to say!


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