Creating a flap? $56-million federal program not without controversy for Estes Park residents

Full story: Estes Park Trail-Gazette

Cars fill the Estes Park Post Office parking lot on Friday. Proposals are being floated involving the construction of a multi-level parking structure to replace the lot.
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1 - 7 of 7 Comments Last updated Mar 30, 2013
Jake to the Mayor

Denver, CO

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#1
Mar 26, 2013
 

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If you want to preserve what you cherish leave Estes Park alone and please move elsewhere. The hell with the individual property owners that will be affected, right? And Scott Zurn, Mr. Bond Park FU if I'm not mistaken. How about the people who live along Riverside Drive. Your attitude is "So what about them". Build your parking structure at the Visitor Center and whats wrong with building a structure at the present Fairgrounds Lot? You know, the one that nobody uses? It's time to leave Estes Park. If I had of wanted Vail I would have moved there. Of course, this couldn't have anything to do with Mr. Black and Bergland and their monument to their egos, The Performing Arts now could it? I don't know how I could possibly think that way.
Here is what

Estes Park, CO

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#2
Mar 27, 2013
 

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I don't understand. There is an awesome place for a parking lot to be built to the south of Weist drive. There is a huge eyesore in a blasted rock face that they could tuck the structure up against. There is easly 30-40' of cliff there that could make for a 3-4 level parking structure that would be drive in level at the top along moraine and drive in level at the bottom at the intersection of weist. You wouldn't ruin the views along the riverwalk by the post office. You wouldn't have to take people's property from them. Plus what sort of flood concerns are there in that parking lot that aren't being addressed? That post office parking lots floods any time we have a really big run off year. The town is constantly sand bagging the edges of the parking lot. The whole one-way idea is really just dumb. If you provide ample parking the traffic congestion will die because people wont be forced to loop around elkhorn looking for a spot. This garage would pay for itself. Charge an hourly rate for parking like every other town in the world. Provide cheap and/or discounted parking passes for locals. Problem solved. Too bad Mr. Zurn is so stuck on his idea of one way elkhorn. I remember him talking up the idea of an overpass at that intersection. This guy seriously needs to get a clue. The parking and traffic problem down town is not that hard to solve. It just takes a little bit of critical thinking. Hopefully he can find some!
tstreet

United States

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#3
Mar 27, 2013
 

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It is a fallacy to think that speeding cars through town will cut congestion. The purpose of this is to increase the amount of people coming to Estes Park so any improvement from the one way concept will be negated by the increased traffic.

Since the purpose of this project from a federal perspective is to enhance access to the park, it is ironic that the town is doing everything in its power to ensure that people slow down by going through the Downtown area of Estes Park. But of course the town couldn't care less about access, it just wants to ensure as many bodies as possible stop in Estes Park and park.
EPVirtualNative

Estes Park, CO

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#4
Mar 28, 2013
 

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While I can see some flaws in the proposed parking project, the question the naysayers need to ask is: If not there, where?

At least someone has come up with a plan. A tiered parking structure makes sense. The post office area is a nightmare in the summer. That infrastructure was good 50 years ago when the current post office was only a few years old. Some people own businesses here and depend on parking for our visitors. The cost of building a structure that provides 300-500 spaces versus 200 may not be that much more. If grant money is out there you need to grab it. I won't be surprised if the property owners whose parcels would be needed for a project gladly sell out. How many of the buildings are currently on the market? There is not a piece of property in the downtown area that could be used to build a traditional 500 space parking lot. It is nice that we have shuttles and larger parking lots served by those shuttles.But trying to get a population that is several generations immersed in the "car culture" to start using buses and outlying parking is a stop gap solution at best. Sadly this community was not master planned 100 years ago and so you're faced with working around mistakes made a long time ago.

As to the "character" of the town. Look at pre Lawn Lake Estes and post Lawn Lake Estes. The toxic dumping ground behind EP Hardware, numerous gas stations on Elkhorn and so on may seem "quaint" when viewed through the soft focus lens of nostalgia. Reality says that Estes Park looked every bit the tourist trap prior to the 1982 flood. A parking structure is not going to turn Estes Park into Vail. But not providing adequate parking for visitors could jeopardize this town's status as a desirable vacation destination.

Perhaps viewing tourism as an industry will help with an analogy. An owner of a factory would be viewed as negligent if he/she did nothing to stay up on the latest advances in their industry. Or if they did nothing to upgrade their equipment and did not listen to their customers, they may find themselves with an empty building and a customer base that migrates to a competitor. Estes Park's visitors rate parking as barely above average. That tells you that improvements need to be made if Estes Park is to stay relevant.

You can keep what makes E.P. special and make improvements. It is puzzling that people move here and act surprised that our primary business is taking care of people who want to be here and spend money. We're not Vail and never will be. If we want to continue to exist as Estes Park, we need to make some improvements.
Huh

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#5
Mar 29, 2013
 

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This is the typical party line, that downtown Estes Park was an eyesore until the Lawn Lake Flood. Because so many people were financially invested in the "recovery" (there were easily 400+ people over the years who had some connection with EPURA, and paid their kids way through school feeding at this trough), naturally they can't admit that what replaced it is worse than what was there before. The post-Lawn Lake Flood changes to Estes Park should actually be a case study of what not to do.

Once that generation dies (hopefully soon) or retires to Florida, maybe real improvements can be made, not what currently passes for progress. Futzing with Bond Park and Stanley Park year after year, seriously? That is what passes for intelligent development in town. Spending millions to do what could be done for $200 - turning a road from two way into one way and putting up some planters? This is just more churn to get taxpayer money that should be returned to taxpayers.

In other states that depend on tourism and jack up prices that hurt the locals as a result - think Alaska, think Nevada - there are actually NO TAXES.

When is Estes Park going to strive for this, to make the people who live and work here year round feel like they actually have a say, and get rewarded for the added expenses they have to bear every day.

Charge for parking. Drag yourself out of the stone age. But give the locals a special code to enter to get free parking. Charge the wealthy idiots who know no better for the privilege of spending time downtown, when they should be up in the park, which is, ultimately, despite all the protestations, what people really come here to see.
Take away the mountains, you dolts who stand up and say otherwise at town board meetings, and see how many people come rushing up to your crappy trinket shops.
I think

Estes Park, CO

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#6
Mar 29, 2013
 

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EPVirtualNative wrote:
While I can see some flaws in the proposed parking project, the question the naysayers need to ask is: If not there, where?
I laid out my case pretty well in comment #2 on where the structure should be built. Seriously, there is a space available for at least 500 spaces right behind lonnigans, chicagos best and bob and tonys. I'm not sure what that parking lot is called but with some excavation you could easily fit 4 levels of parking and probably a 5th on the roof of a structure in that space.

While it would be nice to improve the road, the reality is that the main times of really bad congestion don't happen very often. Seriously. Its maybe a handful of weekends (4th of july, memorial, labor etc...) that cars are backed up to the power plant and safeway gas. Otherwise its the lack of parking that is the biggest problem. A one way drive through Elkhorn is just a really dumb idea. And no wonder that CDOT doesn't want a one way avenue either. Its bad for the town, bad for the locals and just not very well thought out. What happens here for 7 months of the year? Nobody comes up here. Parking is plentiful and the traffic is minimal. So why are we going through this whole fiasco?

Its because there is money on the table. Which I do agree that we should go for. Especially if CDOT will match for funding the road improvements. Lets not ruin the little bit of river corridor we have left through town by blocking the views with a 3 or 4 level parking structure right by the post office. Locating the parking structure in the lot to the west of the moraine will not harm anyone's views. It wont require spending government money to acquire private land. We could really make downtown look nice and provide a centralized parking location with minimal impact to the environment and the "character" of EP. I really hope that the town would have considered all options but it seems like hope is lost and they will push forward with the 1 way elkhorn idea. Hopefully CDOT deters them a bit from this...
Jake

Denver, CO

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#7
Mar 30, 2013
 
I think wrote:
<quoted text>
I laid out my case pretty well in comment #2 on where the structure should be built. Seriously, there is a space available for at least 500 spaces right behind lonnigans, chicagos best and bob and tonys. I'm not sure what that parking lot is called but with some excavation you could easily fit 4 levels of parking and probably a 5th on the roof of a structure in that space.
While it would be nice to improve the road, the reality is that the main times of really bad congestion don't happen very often. Seriously. Its maybe a handful of weekends (4th of july, memorial, labor etc...) that cars are backed up to the power plant and safeway gas. Otherwise its the lack of parking that is the biggest problem. A one way drive through Elkhorn is just a really dumb idea. And no wonder that CDOT doesn't want a one way avenue either. Its bad for the town, bad for the locals and just not very well thought out. What happens here for 7 months of the year? Nobody comes up here. Parking is plentiful and the traffic is minimal. So why are we going through this whole fiasco?
Its because there is money on the table. Which I do agree that we should go for. Especially if CDOT will match for funding the road improvements. Lets not ruin the little bit of river corridor we have left through town by blocking the views with a 3 or 4 level parking structure right by the post office. Locating the parking structure in the lot to the west of the moraine will not harm anyone's views. It wont require spending government money to acquire private land. We could really make downtown look nice and provide a centralized parking location with minimal impact to the environment and the "character" of EP. I really hope that the town would have considered all options but it seems like hope is lost and they will push forward with the 1 way elkhorn idea. Hopefully CDOT deters them a bit from this...
It's great to see someone with good sense (sense is not common). Both locations you mention are quite obvious for a parking structure without causing major inconveniences to citizens and businesses alike. Maybe on of the problems here is Scott Zurn. Could we have a recall election and vote you into his job? As I have mentioned before, do you think the towns eroneous decision to procede with the one way couplet has anything to do with The Performing Arts?

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