‘Easy Park’ card, loading kiosk arrive in Old Town

       As promised in February, the “Easy Park” card is making its way to Old Colorado City.

Parking Administrator Greg Warnke, using a meter on Colbrunn Street, demonstrates how a card can now "swipe" minutes on (or off). In the background, above his right forearm, can be seen the new card-loading kiosk at Colbrunn and Colorado.
Westside Pioneer photo

       Employees with the City Parking System began reworking the roughly 140 Old Town meters this week so they would accept “swipes” with the card in addition to coins.
       Parking costs will stay the same.
       Also this week, at the northwest corner of Colorado Avenue and Colbrunn Court, employees installed a new solar-powered kiosk, at which people can recharge their Easy Park cards with up to $100 in meter time. The cards themselves (about the size of credit cards) need to be purchased elsewhere (see list at end of story).
       The Colorado-Colbrunn kiosk site was chosen after discussions by City Parking with the boards of the Old Colorado City merchants group and maintenance district.
       To make the kiosk more convenient, the city is changing the nearest parking space (a former two-hour spot on the west side of Colbrunn) to a “loading zone,” which will allow people to park briefly when they need to recharge their cards, City Parking Administrator Greg Warnke said this week at a press conference accompanying the installation.
       The closest business is Garman's, and, as it happened, Michael Garman himself stepped outside, attracted by the activity. After satisfying his curiosity with a few questions, he grinned and said, “I think that's neat.”
       Old Colorado City represents part of Phase 2 of the Easy Park implementation (the main downtown was Phase 1). Phase 3, anticipated in 2009, will cover all the other parking meters in town, according to Warnke.
       Another new feature of Phase 2 is a card with a historic Colorado City picture - showing a pack of mules in the middle of an unpaved West Colorado Avenue, long before the days of parking meters.
       Warnke is hopeful the Easy Park card will prove as popular as it has downtown. The city's goal, as he has explained it to the local boards, is not to make more money for the city but to increase parking convenience for shoppers.
       One difference between Old Colorado City and downtown is that Old Town has three free public parking lots, whereas downtown has no free parking.
       The way the cards work, a person swiping his or her card is credited with the maximum amount of parking time the meter allows (assuming the person's card has that much value left on it); however, unused time can later be “unswiped.” For example, if a card is used on a two-hour meter, it will show two hours of time, with the matching cost ($2) charged to the user's card. But if the card owner only needs the parking space for one hour, another swipe of the card will adjust the cost to $1, reflecting the actual time of use.
       One constraint of the card is that it can't be used twice in a row at the same meter. The idea is to create turnover in parking spaces, which merchants prefer, Warnke said.
       Here are the card-purchase locations:
       Kiowa Street parking garage, 127 E. Kiowa St., City Administration Building parking garage, 130 S. Nevada Ave., Bijou/Cascade parking garage, 215 N. Cascade Ave., Parking System office in the City Administration Building, 30 S. Nevada Ave., Suite 606; and online at www.springsgov.com.
       The cost for a card is $10, but online there is a 50 cent postage fee.
       Other reloading kiosks are at 218 N. Tejon St., 6 S. Tejon St. and 107 N. Nevada Ave.
       The kiosks, including Old Colorado City's, are also equipped with AC power, but even this winter the downtown kiosks functioned entirely on solar, according to Parking System mechanic Dean Asato.

Westside Pioneer article