In park­ing de­bate, coun­cil calls for strat­egy to get peo­ple out of cars

The Denver Post - - NEWS - By Jon Mur­ray

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.

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