No community, big or small, will ever be able to escape the inevitable debate that every municipality must one day face.
I have heard the issue raised several times in my nearly two years in Golden.
From what I can gather, Golden, like every other town I have lived in, has a parking problem.
On week days, particularly in the summer, 9th Avenue North is lined with cars.
Newcomers to Golden, especially ones relocating from cities, look at the issue like we’re all crazy. There are a lot of places in Canada where you count yourself lucky if you only have to walk five blocks from your car to your destination.
And it feels like you won the lottery if you can find a space for free.
At my medium sized college campus I had to leave myself almost 20 minutes before class to walk from the parking lot to my building.
However it doesn’t take long before you are so used to parking right outside the door, that the thought of parking in the CP Parking Lot (which is the about the length of an average mall parking lot away from almost all downtown businesses) is incomprehensible.
In only took me a few months before I would get annoyed if I had to park at the end of the street rather than right in front of the Golden Star’s back door.
The Town of Golden bylaw states that there is two-hour parking in the spaces along 9th Avenue North, and there are signs to enforce it.
However, the residents of Golden are somewhat unfamiliar with bylaws being enforced.
The Town’s new bylaw officer has been issuing warnings to motorists, letting them know they are in violation of the rules.
Some people are ecstatic, some people are furious.
The drivers who are constantly complaining that they can never find a parking space are thrilled to see that people will no longer get away with leaving their cars in the same spot all day.
On the other hand, drivers who are used to leaving their cars in the same spot all day are none too pleased at the prospect of getting a parking ticket.
The purpose of the two-hour bylaw is to allow shoppers and tourists prime parking. The fear is that if a tourist is driving through the downtown core, and cannot find a space, he or she will just keep on driving.
The Town of Golden rents the parking lot across from 7-Eleven from CP Rail so that workers can leave their cars relatively close to their place of business for their entire shift, without taking a space away from a paying customer.
They just need to convince people that those few extra blocks of walking each morning and afternoon is better for business.
And while we’re walking those few blocks to work in the morning, we can all be grateful that we’re not dropping a loonie into a parking meter and only getting 15 minutes.