Bozeman city officials to consider downtown parking rule changes

Posted at 3:56 PM, Dec 03, 2018
and last updated 2018-12-03 19:12:05-05

BOZEMAN – City officials could alter several downtown parking rules during the weekly Commission Meeting on Monday at 6 p.m.

Some of the changes include limiting the amount of time vehicles can unload in alleys, as well as extending the amount of time cars can be parked on city streets.

In the past, the city has updated parking rules like extending the time vehicles can be parked in handicap spaces. Now due to feedback, officials are considering making further changes.

“Parking has definitely been a bit of an issue,” said Altitude Gallery Owner Amy Kirkland. “The traffic has increased and parking, you know I do think it is tight. Parking is difficult for some people to find. I think if you are willing to walk a block or two, really there is always a parking spot.”

Great Rocky Mountain Toy Company owner Michele West said traffic clogs can be caused by semi trucks parked on the streets or alleys while unloading goods. West said trucks will often even block the employee parking spaces she pays for in the back of the building. Her employees must then park on Main Street until the truck has left and then go back to move their car to avoid getting a parking ticket.

“We had a situation where an elderly man fainted in the store and you know, we were concerned,” said West. “If the trucks were blocking the alley, that would have been an issue for the ambulance to come in the back.”

To alleviate the frustration and hazard of the unloading trucks, the city is considering imposing a 30-minute time limit for any vehicle unloading downtown.

Another rule change waiting for approval would allow cars to park on public streets for 72 hours instead of 48. This would decrease the number of times parking officials have to check on vehicles and give the city the ability to deny parking permits to any driver who has outstanding parking violations.

“I don’t know the number of people that would actually fall into that category and whether or not that would be sizable enough to really make an impact,” said ERA Landmark Employee Tim McWilliams. “But if it was it would be great. It would leave some room for the rest of us that would be paying.”

Most businesses said these changes could help in regards to downtown parking, but the real issues are confusion over the parking garage’s technology and customers not being able to use metered parking if they want to be downtown for more than two hours.

Reporting by Mederios Babb for MTN News