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Uptown parking pickle perturbs peeved populace

It’s frustrating and tempting when the only open parking spots at north City Market are those designated as pickup locations. (Harry Parker)

Dear Action Line: Finding a spot to park at north Main City Market is a frustrating Easter Egg Hunt. It’s so crowded that shoppers resort to parking on the sidewalk, poaching a space from Mac’s Liquors or hiking up from East Second Avenue. Personally, I park in the designated Pickup Locations whether or not I phoned in an order (as do other clever miscreants). Customers actually getting groceries delivered to their car is a rare site. Could you put in a word with City Market management that it would be better for everyone if the 10 almost-always-empty pickup spaces could be reduced to two? – Harry Parker

Dear Harry: Oh, come on! Parking isn’t really a problem there. Just do your grocery shopping before 7:30 a.m. or after 7:30 p.m., and it’ll go much smoother. There’s also a sweet spot between about 8:15 and 10 a.m. most days.

But if you insist on going during the busy times, which is just about every other time not mentioned above, then yes, of course, it’s going to be a madhouse. It’s a happening place, with a cozy interior, good selection and friendly people. No, really, there are friendly people there. Is there anyone more friendly than Tommy?

Yes, parking can be nuts. Remember back in the old days, when Durango was just a small town, barely a blip on those Rand McNally road maps people once used? There was plenty of parking, and an ATM stood at the corner of 32nd Street and Main Avenue on the City Market lot. And it wasn’t too hard to find a spot right next to it anytime you needed some cash. Is Action Line dreaming this? And what did we need all that cash for?

Action Line contacted Audie Morris, store leader at north City Market. He said he’d check to see about the possibility of taking out some of the designated pickup spots, but doubted that was possible.

So that was that.

But then Action Line made the egregious error of trying to figure out the big picture of how parking works there, and who owns what between City Market and Mac’s Liquor Store. Hoo boy. A can of worms was opened, as Mrs. Action Line said.

As many of you know, this has been an issue for several years. Here’s the story:

The parking to the east of Mac’s Liquors is on land owned by Mac’s and currently unavailable to City Market customers. In another twist on the saga, the land farther south of Mac’s, according to county records, is owned by the same entity that owns the land where City Market and its main parking area sit. That entity is Dillon Real Estate Co., a Cincinnati-based subsidiary of Kroger Co., which owns City Market. (La Plata County GIS screen shot/Action Line)

Once upon a time, City Market leased parking spaces from Mac’s, which owns the parking to the east of its building. Then things went haywire a few years back, and that lease agreement ended. That’s where we are now.

Mac’s changed ownership in May 2022, new owner Tina Haefele informed Action Line. She said she’s amenable to the idea of leasing parking to City Market (Kroger Co.), but feels like she’s up against a corporate behemoth that is trying to throw its weight around. Plus, she doesn’t even know whom to talk to about it.

Haefele is hoping that the issues with City Market stem from tension with Mac’s previous owner, so she’s open to leasing the parking at or near the going market rate. “I’m willing to work with anybody,” she said.

Customers, who as noted park wherever they can – someone, perhaps even a desperate customer, even tore out metal posts sectioning off the Mac’s parking – simply wish the two sides would figure this out. Yes, it’s very disjointed to have more City Market parking south of the Mac’s strip, but that’s the way the ball is bouncing. (A La Plata County real estate map shows that City Market – in this case Dillon Real Estate Co., one of the Kroger subsidiaries – owns that strip of land south of Mac’s strip. Hoo boy.)

Morris noted that the poaching goes both ways, with Mac’s customers taking City Market spots as well.

“I try to be a good neighbor,” Morris said, “but what I need is a parking lot stretcher … lol.”

A new hat

An unexpected small box arrived recently for Action Line from Connecticut. One of Action Line’s most expendable personal assistants – the one with no family, who owns a pet hamster or marmot or something – was talked into opening it. Thankfully there was no explosion. Inside was a new hat with the official “Jake Brake®” logo and a note.

“All of us at Jacobs Vehicle Systems greatly enjoyed your recent Action Line article ‘Blame Clessie’s make: Jake Brakes take cake.’ We often deal with noise complaints and try to educate communities on unmuffled or modified mufflers … Your article brought us a laugh.”

The Nov. 27 story explained the history of Jacobs Vehicle Systems brakes (Jake Brakes), and that – even if loud to residents nearby – they are legal if the truck’s engine is muffled correctly.

And just so everyone knows, the hat has found a good home, with a neighbor who has a rambunctious dog named Jake. Makes sense, right?

Email questions and suggestions to actionline@durangoherald.com or mail them to Action Line, The Durango Herald, 1275 Main Ave., Durango, CO 81301. Can’t we all just get along?

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