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Right on track for summer of bizarre parking ploys

Durango’s parking woes have gotten so bad that people are apparently parking across railroad tracks, as seen here during the Dandelion Festival last Sunday.

I took this photo last Sunday at East Second Avenue and 15th Street – that intersection by the cable company. Apparently, our parking problem is worst than we think! Police had the vehicle towed. The Dandelion Festival was happening at Rotary Park, which I assume is where this driver was headed. I don’t know, what do you think? – Rick Helmick

Charles Darwin described a process that takes place when someone parks his or her truck across railroad tracks.

However, thanks to law-enforcement intervention, nature didn’t take its course.

But you gotta give the vehicle owner credit. Not much, but some.

The train doesn’t return from Silverton until 6 p.m., and no one is using the property until that time. And yes, sometimes you have to get creative with parking.

But inventing a parking place on a railroad right-of-way is oh-so-wrong – if only from a physics standpoint.

In the long history of transportation, there has never been an instance in which a vehicle ever won a confrontation with an 110-ton locomotive.

So let’s briefly review the Rules of Durango Parking before summer arrives and things get really bad:

Rule 1: Just because you live here, you are not entitled to and should not expect to have a parking space in front of your destination.

Rule 2: Tickets are an important source of city revenue. If you don’t pay attention to the meter, you will pay $12. Resistance is futile.

Rule 3: In the Skyridge neighborhood, the most convenient place to park is in the median. Except that isn’t allowed – despite the fact it’s paved, and there is no other parking.

Rule 4: Residents of the historic Boulevard neighborhood double-dog-dare you to block their driveway. Tow trucks are on speed dial.

Rule 5: Conversely, Town Plaza doesn’t have the guts to tow anything. Oh, there are the nasty-grams left on windshields, but until impoundments happen, the shopping center will be downtown’s de facto free parking lot.

Rule 6: There is always parking at the Transit Center. Seriously. The lot is never, ever full.

Corollary to Rule 6: Despite the availability of parking, residents refuse to walk more than 50 feet. Yet Durangoans spend vast sums on bikes, gym memberships, gear and yoga pants, so they can enjoy an active lifestyle.

Rule 7: Animas City residents are normally a laid-back bunch – except when tubers park in front of their mailboxes. Then things get nasty.

Rule 8: There is always money to alter the course of a river for kayakers, build bridges to nowhere and create lakes the public can’t visit. But there is never any money to build a municipal parking garage. Besides, it won’t be used. See the Corollary to Rule 6.

I saw this city job posting for “multi-modal specialist” to support projects “designed to enhance bicycle/pedestrian/transit/parking/TDM programs and efforts.” But one of the application requirements was a “valid driver’s license with clean driving record.” So why does the person whose job is to get people to use their cars less need to have a driver’s license? – Perplexed

It does seem a bit contradictory – kind of like having a rule that Durango Natural Foods applicants must eat at Burger King to qualify.

Or requiring consumers to show a Farmington Sam’s Club card as a condition to purchase the Durango Local First coupon book.

But there’s a good reason for requiring that plastic card from the DMV.

“Though the multi-modal specialist will work to encourage less driving, he or she will also need to use city vehicles occasionally for events, meeting and other things,” said Amber Blake, the city’s multi-modal administrator.

Which makes sense – if a person is going to drive a city vehicle, even once a month, you don’t want them to be a menace to safety.

And just for the record, parking a vehicle on the railroad tracks and walking away isn’t considered multi-modal despite the fact it combines three forms of transportation.

Email questions to actionline@durangoherald.com or mail them to Action Line, The Durango Herald, 1275 Main Ave., Durango, CO 81301. You can request anonymity if you let everyone know the location of your super-secret, always-available downtown parking space.

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