Can Durango residents reserve parking on their streets? I saw this sign in the Riverview neighborhood near a trailhead for access to the infamous “Beach,” the area along the Animas River across from Durango High School. It’s a favorite location to day-drink, smoke, party and moon the train. Personally, I think all iconic city recreation areas should have fair access for everyone. Sign me, Jonny Wise Muller, swimming enthusiast
“Reserved” parking on a public street? The city didn’t reserve judgment on this issue.
“You can’t do that,” said our good friend Wade Moore, Durango’s parking operations manager.
“This a public right-of-way anyone can use any time,” he said, making a spot-on comment on parking spaces.
Parking takes on religious fervor in Durango. But that doesn’t mean you can install a parclose to park close.
Wade recalled several instances of people blocking off “their” spot on a public street.
“The best was this person who took several orange cones from the Streets Department and put them in front of their house to make an official-looking closure,” he said.
The ruse lasted only a couple of days, ending when neighbors asked the city what street work was being done just in that one spot.
“So now you had someone using stolen public property to exclude lawful use of public property. That prompted us to have a neighborly chat,” Wade said with a chuckle.
For other instances of people having proprietary relationships with their front street, Action Line turned to the World’s Most Infallible Source of Truth, the internet.
America’s most popular ploy? The hoi polloi painting front curbs red or yellow.
“Yah, we’ve seen that, too,” Wade said. “We remove the paint and charge the owner for the cleanup.”
Unauthorized “No Parking” signs are frequently erected.
Unauthored nasty notes are left on windshields.
One guy in Oregon even installed a surplus parking meter to discourage interlopers.
Regardless of tactics, the space in front of your house isn’t “yours.”
On the other hand, if a parker blocks your driveway, you can remedy the situation immediately with a tow truck.
Under the Colorado Revised Statues, it’s illegal to park within 5 feet of a driveway.
The same law says you cannot park “within an intersection” or “on any railroad tracks.”
Just for the record, Charles Darwin wrote a book about people who would seriously consider either tactic.
For besieged Riverview neighbors, leave those parking peccadilloes by the side of the road.
The city’s rules on open containers, unleased dogs and permits required for group activities should be the tools used to battle Beach boorishness.
Of course, the city could stay the course and endorse the coarse – and create a new revenue stream from the riverbank.
After all, Durango has never met a fee, surcharge or tax it couldn’t live without.
Because Beach bums can’t be stopped from mooning the train, Durango should sell licenses for such inevitable activity.
Pay a thou to drop trou?
We call all get behind this, and bend over forward to support such a cheeky proposal.
It would certainly improve the city’s bottom line and keep town from falling in arrears on payments.
Email questions to firstname.lastname@example.org or mail them to Action Line, The Durango Herald, 1275 Main Ave., Durango, CO 80301. You can request anonymity if life’s a beach.