Despite backlash, Carbondale says pay up: Paid parking is here to stay

By Jacob Lorenz, Staff Reporter

The Carbondale City Council voted to bring back paid parking downtown on Tuesday, Jan. 28 at their regularly scheduled meeting despite public outcry.

(See more: Free of fee? Carbondale city council discusses parking)

Carbondale offered free parking on a trial basis from July 1, 2019 to Jan. 1, 2020. The council said it did not see an increase of people visiting downtown, so it voted to end the free parking in December. 

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The Council passed a motion to have two separate parking passes for residents and employees. Residents can get a downtown resident permit for $25 a year and employees can get a parking permit for $2.50 a month.

The resident parking pass will expire after 365 days beginning on the day you buy the permit.

According to the new ordinance, residents will need a state ID or proof of voter registration to purchase a permit.

Before discussion of the amendments to change downtown parking, Councilperson Adam Loos said he wanted to reiterate that there should be free parking. 

“We don’t have a parking problem,” Loos said, “we have too much parking, not too little.” 

Loos said the city doesn’t need to ration a resource it has too much of.

“I think just about the amount of time and energy we’ve wasted on this when the obvious solution is to make it free is, it breaks my heart,” Loos said. 

Councilperson Jessica Bradshaw agreed with Loos and voiced her concerns that downtown parking should be free for all. Bradshaw said she wants to continue to discuss the city’s options for free parking in the future. 

Rachel Cristaudo, one owner of Cristaudo’s bakery, said she doesn’t know why the employee permit is higher than the resident permit. 

The city said the resident pass is a convenience, so it won’t be used as often, unlike the employee permit that will see constant use. 

Megan Cole, who works at Carbondale Mainstreet, said she found the employee permits arbitrary because they are paying to go to work. 

“I think that while being business friendly for our residents and visitors quite important, also being friendly to our downtown employees who literally put blood, sweat and tears into this town, we need to be appreciative towards,” Cole said. 

After parking was voted on, the Council discussed renaming a street in Carbondale to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Street.

Oakland Street, Mill Street, Jackson Street, Wall Street and Grand Avenue were all suggested in the discussion.  No motion was passed to change the street name at this meeting.

Staff reporter Jacob Lorenz can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter at @jtlorenz6.

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