By now you've probably heard the news: There are major parking changes in Manitou Springs, especially for hikers looking to access the Manitou Incline or Barr Trail.
But, it's all a little confusing, isn't it? Yep, we thought so. Here's what you need to know:
• On-street parking in the Ruxton Corridor from Osage Avenue west now costs $5 per hour –
Public parking in the Residential Parking Permit area is only allowed 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays (look for the "RPP" signs). Parking in the area that is not in the RPP is available from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. In other words, you can't park on the street early in the morning or late in the evening any more.
• Parking in the Barr Trail Lot now costs $10 a day
— On the bright side, you can get a $5 refund if you reach Barr Camp and get a validated coupon. For now, the Barr Trail Lot is open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m., but the city is looking at ways to extend the hours.
• There is now some free parking downtown —
Winter parking hours are in place until Sunday, April 2, 2016. Paid parking in the downtown area is only in effect from 7:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. during the winter season — meaning you can park for free later at night. During the main part of the day, your first three hours of downtown parking are free, Monday through Thursday, during the winter months. But you still need to register your car at the on-street kiosks, even if you're just using the free parking.
• Manitou swears it isn't doing this to tick you off —
Manitou officials say the increased charges and decreased hours for parking near the Incline and the Barr Trail are meant to ease congestion. People who live on Ruxton Avenue are pretty tired of battling hikers for parking, or being woken up by their vehicles in the early morning hours. The city is hoping to encourage more people to park farther away, and use the shuttle to get into town. Also worth noting: The extra dough will go toward programs that help out hikers and tourists. Parking revenues help pay for the free parking west of town and the shuttle service, and over $100,000 in Barr Trail Lot parking revenues have gone to improve the Incline and Barr Trail.