City mints a dubious new rule for coin carrying

I was recently advised by the city’s ever-vigilant parking barons that it is every resident’s responsibility to have coins upon their person at all times in case one needs to park downtown. Yes, one is not allowed to walk into a retail outlet to request change for the parking meter. Talk about government overreaching into our personal lives! Signed, Guess I’ll go shop at the big-box stores from now on.

Local residency comes with a host of solemn responsibilities that aren’t enshrined in the City Code.

The duty to sport spare specie is one of them. So is the obligation to put a bandana around your dog’s neck.

Being a Durangoan also requires one to wave at passing trains, own a car worth less than one’s bicycle and/or dress exclusively in Carhartts or fleece while complaining bitterly how there are no places to buy decent clothes.

This is what’s meant when real estate agents refer to “the Durango Lifestyle.”

And our lifestyle is only going to get better – because local government has only begun to overreach into your personal life.

If all goes according to plan, we could be free of the scourge of plastic grocery bags.

Likewise, the use of a legal product, cigarettes, will be banned from the Animas River Trail despite it being outdoors and 15 feet away from any building entrances.

Oh, and there’s the matter of additional trail signage. You know how Action Line feels about more signs in Durango.

The city estimates it will require $37,000 to erect stern prohibition notices on a path designed for nature appreciation.

Proponents insist the money can come from grants. But just where does “grant” money come from? There’s no such thing as a free lunch.

Anyway, sorry for the tangential tirade. It just that Action Line finished his taxes this week and ended up having to write checks to Uncle Sam and Gov. Hickenlooper.

Which is fine. Paying one’s fair share makes our society function.

It doesn’t mean one has to be thrilled at the prospect.

There goes a new pair of shoes for Mrs. Action Line.

It’s also disturbing and lamentable that some will construe this column to be affirmation of tea party gasbags. Rest assured, it is not.

But Durango is getting too uppity in its rules. Let’s take town’s marketing slogan to heart: “Durango – Get Real.”

Nevertheless, today’s issue is parking change, and there’s a backstory to this query.

The question-asker is a long time resident, a live-and-let-live libertarian and one of the nicest people on the planet.

She appealed a parking ticket, the only time she had done so in 30 years of residency.

“I thought, gee whiz, I was trying to do the right thing by running in (to a store) to get coins. And they had the audacity to write on the judgment form that all citizens have the responsibility to have coins on them at all times,” she wrote in a clarification email.

We asked Amber Blake, the city’s multimodal coordinator who also oversees parking, about this picky pocket-change precept.

“No, the city doesn’t require the public to carry change, but it’s a good idea when visiting downtown,” she said.

Blake pointed out a solution to the no-change conundrum: a preloaded cash key, which can hold up to 50 bucks in parking credit. Get ’em at the Transit Center.

If you do carry coins, Blake says the containers for Airborne anti-cold tablets are perfect for quarters.

“Just don’t forget which container is which and plop a quarter in your drink,” she joked.

Likewise, a fizzy tablet won’t fit in a parking meter coin slot.

And that, somehow, brings us back to politics.

Regardless of party preference, every resident strongly believes in hope and change. Seriously.

Even the La Plata County Tea Party believes in hope and change:

We all really hope we have change when finding a downtown parking space.

Email questions to or mail them to Action Line, The Durango Herald, 1275 Main Ave., Durango, CO 81301. You can request anonymity if you remember to put up your feeders this week for the soon-to-arrive broadtail hummingbirds.