Thursday, June 14, 2018

Manitou Springs launches new parking program

Posted By on Thu, Jun 14, 2018 at 9:38 AM

click to enlarge Manitou's new team of parking coordinators at the program's launch last weekend. - DANE LYON
  • Dane Lyon
  • Manitou's new team of parking coordinators at the program's launch last weekend.

Manitou Springs launched a new parking management program last Friday, June 8, in an effort to reduce traffic congestion during the busy summer tourist season.

Parking coordinators hired by SP+ Municipal Services will be posted at each public lot Friday through Sunday this summer from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. to monitor its capacity and relay that data to a central manager via radio. This way, they can update variable message boards across the city and the new parking website, ParkManitou.com, to help visitors find a parking spot faster.

Eventually, the website will also provide information on
getting around Manitou using alternative transportation such as biking and walking.

Initially, Manitou Springs’ Transportation and Parking Board considered installing technology to gather parking data and automate the search for a spot but decided against it because of the high implementation costs and seasonal nature of Manitou’s parking demand. The City says higher tech may still be in on its way in the future, but for now, hiring parking coordinators was the way to go.

Besides being cheaper, hiring actual attendants adds a more personalized touch by assisting visitors with everything from using the payment kiosks to finding out what’s going on in town that day.

Meanwhile, starting this weekend, the City will be experimenting with an impersonal, semi-Orwellian approach to parking as well.

Staff from Kimley-Horn and Associates will be testing out License Plate Recognition (LPR) technology in the Ruxton Ave. Corridor "at various times” from Thursday, June 21, through Sunday, June 24, “to inform parking behaviors within the study area,” according to a press release from the City.

The press release also notes nothing nefarious will be done with the data and the license plate readers are used simply to count the number of vehicles in the parking lots. The LPR software immediately replaces the license plate number with a unique identifier and throws it out. None of the license plate data will be stored by the City or Kimley-Horn, nor can they access any other personal information associated with the plate numbers.

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