The Colorado Springs City Council voted this week to ensure the city will be following its own rules when it starts charging for parking on Sunday afternoons at meters and garages downtown and in Old Colorado City.
The city was in violation of its own ordinance when it started charging for parking on Sunday afternoons in January and had to suspend parking enforcement on those days in late January and February when it discovered its error, Scott Lee parking enterprise director for the city previously told The Gazette.
The council approved an ordinance Tuesday on a 6-2 vote allowing the enforcement of parking on Sunday afternoons . The city expects to start enforcing paid parking on Sundays when it starts charging again for parking on all other days, said Jen Schreuder, a spokeswoman for the city.
City officials suspended its parking enforcement through at least March 25 to encourage residents to come down and pick up food from restaurants while dining rooms are closed to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
Council members Andy Pico and Yolanda Avila opposed the measure and Council President Richard Skorman recused himself from the vote as a downtown business owner.
The approved ordinance sets aside Sunday mornings until 1 p.m. as free parking to allow church attendees to park without worrying about meter time limits.
Avila said she would prefer Sundays remain free to encourage families to spend time together downtown, even if they don't attend a church.
"People celebrate in different ways," she said.
Councilwoman Jill Gaebler said she supported the ordinance because it encourages residents to move their cars after shopping or eating out and allow others to visit downtown shops. If residents want to spend all afternoon downtown, they can park in a garage, she said.
"By not charging for parking downtown. ... We are allowing folks to park, to store their private vehicles, in the public right of way for as long as they want," she said.
Parking congestion downtown could also be relieved by a new circulator bus that would allow residents to leave their cars outside the area, Councilman David Geislinger said.
A timeline for a downtown shuttle hasn't been determined and will depend on funding, said Vicki McCann, a spokeswoman for Mountain Metro Transit.