In parking debate, council calls for strategy to get people out of cars
The Denver City Council agreed on one big idea Monday when it came time to hammer out amendments to a controversial parking exemption: The city needs a broader strategy to reduce residents’ reliance on cars to get around.
“This is the area that most of us on City Council agree on — that this is the direction that we want to go,” council President Albus Brooks said.
In the meantime, Brooks said, the product of the debate over a “fix” to the parking exemption would have a shelf life of perhaps 18 months, giving city officials time to seek better solutions.
Disagreement over how to make that parking exemption more restrictive has flummoxed the council for the better part of a year. The council didn’t resolve the debate Monday, as had been expected, because two members’ absences left the potentially razor-thin support for Councilman Jolon Clark’s meatiest proposed amendment in question.
That means there probably will be more debate in coming weeks, before an April 17 public hearing on the measure.
The council on Monday approved two smaller amendments offered by Clark on 11-0 votes — including one that asks city departments to get started on a “comprehensive citywide program with the purposes of managing demand for vehicle parking and reducing vehicle trip generation.”
Otherwise known as transportation demand management, such programs aim to increase the use of other forms of transportation, including public transportation, ride-sharing services and biking, as much as possible — potentially easing parking crunches.
That could happen through information campaigns, offering new incentives, changing policies that favor driving over other modes and optimizing existing options.
Clark and Brooks, who is sponsoring the proposal to change the parking exemption, said several departments have committed to exploring such a program, although there could be cost hurdles to implementing it.