Lander Police could begin enforcing 2-hour parking on Main Street more regularly

(Lander, Wyo.) – A number of Lander’s Main Street merchants attended last night’s Lander city Council meeting to request that the two-hour parking on Main Street be more thoroughly enforced.

Led by In My Window owner Susan Meeker, the merchants requested the maximum parking hours be enforced so that shoppers, tourists especially, have a place to park when driving through downtown. “Many people who work on Main Street park on Main Street for far more than two hours,” Meeker said. She noted that despite the National Outdoor Leadership School having a number of their own parking lots, employees still park on Main. She said NOLS’s Jon Gans agrees they should stay off Main.

At minimum Meeker asked the city to lower the parking limit sign, which are currently on poles upwards of 10 feet in the air. She said the Wyoming Department of Transportation’s standards dictate the lowest they can be is to have the bottom of the sign 7 feet above the sidewalk.

Councilman Cade Maestas said he agreed that if the city has an ordinance on the books, it should be enforced. However, he said he disagreed that the city should tell Main Street office workers that they can’t park on Main in a 2 hour window. He said studies show that when minor codes are enforced, major crime also decreases because it shows that the law enforcement stands up for all its ordinances.

Police Chief Jim Carey said in the last six weeks, six parking citations have been issued and of those, four were on Main Street. He stressed that his officers often have higher priority things to deal with. He agreed that the biggest hurdle would be to convince those who work on Main to not park on Main. Carey also said he believed the current parking ordinance is vague and could be improved.

Carey agreed that consistency and fairness would be important throughout the length of Main Street, but right now his officer’s can’t do that on a day-to-day basis. However, he said his officers would continue ticket as much as possible.

There was some brainstorming about the possibility of hiring a civilian to enforce two hour parking on a part time basis, and that the revenue they generate could help offset their cost. There was also mention of the the meters that used to be in place along Main Street. Another strategy discussed was to enforce the two-hour parking on Main, but remove the time restriction on the side streets for employees.

The city council, including Mayor Mick Wolfe, agreed that parking is valuable to Main Street retailers and that something should be done. Wolfe said that the city should look into making adjustments to the ordinance.

Community Resource Coordinator Gary Michaud asked that if the city begins to pursue studies and grants for handling capacity issues that some of the retailers step up to join any relative committees. Wolfe added that he would begin working with Michaud and Carey on future strategies.