By Cameron Rasmusson
As far as local complaints go, there aren’t many of them more long-lived or persistently contentious than downtown parking. It’s a little like the Hydra—cut down one problem and seven more rise to take its place.
The Sandpoint City Council tackled its latest effort to rein in the mythical beast Wednesday at their regular meeting. A handful of local business owners and residents shared their concerns about the state of downtown parking, which included space sizes, confusing curb markers and timed free parking that encouraged business employees to do the so-called “two hour shuffle.”
According to citizen testimony, the problem with downtown parking is that most of it is occupied by employees, who skirt the two-hour restriction by driving around the block right back to their original space every two hours. That limits the space available to business customers, the elderly or the handicapped. Other issues include a lack of spaces designed for compact cars and confusing curb painting that confuses some drivers, causing them to eat up more parking space than need be.
Council members used the opportunity to take notes for potential parking changes to enact down the road. Representatives of Diamond Parking, the company that enforces the city’s policies, were on also hand to hear locals’ comments.
“Our goal is just to do what the city wants us to do,” said Dan Geiger, regional vice president for Diamond Parking.