Boulder council weighs weekend parking pilot for Chautauqua Park

Paid parking, time limits and shuttle on the table

BOULDER, Colo. -- On weekends, visitors typically circle the parking lot and nearby neighborhood to find a spot at Chautauqua Park, but changes could be on the way.

Boulder City Council is now leaning toward a pilot program that would put new rules in place for parking during the weekend. The proposal would include paid parking, time limits and a free shuttle service. The pilot would run from June 1 until August 31.

"It’s about balancing the needs of the people who want to access the park with the needs of the neighbors who live there," said Sam Weaver, Boulder City Council member.

Traffic and parking is becoming an issue as the park's popularity continues to grow. An estimated 5,000 people visit on peak days and usage has doubled over the past 10 years.

The Colorado Chautauqua Association is meeting with the city Thursday morning to discuss the possible impacts. Interim Executive Director Shelly Benford is not surprised there's such strong opinions on both sides.

"Everyone considers Chautauqua their very own and when you start to impose restrictions like paid parking time restrictions which they’ve never had all the years they’ve been coming here, people are going to get emotional about it," said Benford.

A public hearing is set for April 18 and Boulder's mayor said she is looking forward to hearing from residents. City council members estimate they've received at least 200 emails related to parking issues since this debate started.

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