In November 2021, Windsor’s Town Board adopted its 2022 operating budget, dedicating $1 million for the identification, acquisition, and creation of additional parking in its downtown area, near its most popular public event destination, Boardwalk Park. At the time, Town Board declared a commitment to allocate the same or more in annual funding for the next few years, and, after an extensive downtown parking public input period spanning nearly two years, the Board recently adopted Windsor’s Downtown Parking Study. At the end of this year, the Town of Windsor will have improved parking opportunities and will be very close to using its entire 2022 parking budget.
The commitment to improve public parking was part and parcel with the adopted Downtown Parking Study and an attempt to anticipate increased downtown visitation due to the Future Legends campus opening in 2023.
“The data collected in the parking study seemed to show that while we do have certain hot spots in our downtown, we typically have ample parking in the downtown area and really need to prepare for the 5 to 10 year horizon where we would have a real deficit if parking solutions aren’t developed,” said Town Manager Shane Hale. “The parking study gave us great data on our real parking needs, but also gave us some great recommendations that include parking management, code changes, and suggestions on how to gain spaces now so we stay ahead of the need and ensure continued prosperity downtown. We hope to be able to minimize the impacts to our residents that live near Main Street, while concurrently offering convenient parking options to downtown patrons.”
The Downtown Parking Study relied heavily on both in-person and historical data collection.
In-person collection was briefly placed on hold when summer events and schools were cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Staff used the time to analyze previous years’ parking demand, looking at data for typical weekday, weekend and event use to understand data driven trends and hot spots.
Then, when Windsor’s most popular summer event, the Summer Concert Series, and the downtown district’s busiest parking season relaunched, staff also relaunched their in-person data collection efforts looking across all sectors influencing parking supply and demand.
According to Senior Planner David Eisenbraun, “We wanted to ensure the study and its data would be legitimate. Our goal was to capture a broad spectrum of parking data—at its peak, during regular work or school days, how parking was accessed, if parking was problematic, and how downtown parking might work to the benefit of all downtown businesses throughout the entire year, not only during seasonal events.”
The parking study was approved by Town Board on Monday, July 11.
In addition to completing the Downtown Parking Study, this year also involved a concerted effort to identify and start improving downtown parking.
Of immediate importance are two land deals the town is set to close on this September, both located in downtown, north of Main Street and close to Windsor Lake. The Town of Windsor closes on 106 N. 6th Street on Thursday, Sept. 1, and it closes on the lot located between 501 and 517 Ash Street on Friday, Sept. 30. Both will be dedicated public parking.
Windsor engineering staff have also looked at ways to restripe existing roadside parking to the west of Windsor Lake, and now, there’s on-street parking improvements planned for both Birch and 6th Street.
Throughout the process, traffic safety has also been a consideration. “Our goal is to preserve and improve how parallel parking is marked along roads adjacent to homes, and we are working to stripe and sometimes restripe angled parking in areas where a heavier parking load will not impact homeowner access,” said Civil Engineer Curtis Templeman. In addition to his other duties pertaining to town-wide road maintenance, Templeman has been strategizing the best use of on-street parking.
Pedestrian safety is another paramount consideration. In May, Traffic Planner Eric Bracke began working with the Colorado Department of Transportation, seeking crosswalk improvements at Windsor’s busiest downtown intersection: 5th and Main Street. On July 12, within a week of permit approval, staff installed four rapid flashing crosswalk beacons.
“I anticipate that we’ll be making more announcements soon,” said Hale. Currently, staff are looking at land stewardship to see if there’s a more effective way to use public land that doesn’t involve property acquisition but also doesn’t have a negative impact on highly used recreation spaces.
Meanwhile, Windsor’s Town Board, along with Hale, Eisenbraun, and Templeman continue to look at improved parking options.
“We’ve started our 2023 budgeting process. Staff are concurrently working to identify costs association with next year’s anticipated parking improvements so the final budget can be submitted,” said Hale. Windsor’s budgeting process ends in early November upon Town Board approval.
For more information and to stay informed about Windsor’s downtown parking efforts, visit windsorprojectconnect.com. For more information about Windsor’s annual budget, visit windsorgov.com/finance. To receive text and email notifications regarding Town Board meetings and agendas, visit windsorgov.com/townboard.