Long-term parking of commercial vehicles could bring regulation to city’s downtown lot

(Riverton, Wyo.) – Some regulation may be coming to the city’s downtown parking lot following discussion at Tuesday night’s city council work session. Police Chief Mike Broadhead told the council that the city’s lot is not regulated, and he said some seven different businesses around town use the lot to park their company vehicles and trailers, some on a long-term basis.

The issue of regulating parking at the lot, located between North 3rd East and North Broadway off of Fremont Street came up when the lot was being considered as a site for the downtown Farmers Market.

Riverton Police Chief Mike Broadhead

Riverton Police Chief Mike Broadhead

“The lot is being used for long-term storage for some companies, some not located even close to the lot,” Broadhead reported. He also told the council that he had approached each of the seven companies with vehicles there. “They are not interested in voluntarily moving them,” he said.

Broadhead said that if any regulation were proposed for the lot, that it be simple, which he said would be the easiest to enforce. He suggested such regulation could be a prohibition of overnight parking for commercial vehicles from 2 to 5 a.m. for instance.

Mayor Ron Warpness noted the lot was originally created through a local improvement district, not necessarily for customer parking, but for a place where downtown businesses, employees and residents could park, to free up spaces along Main Street. He said businesses were assessed based on their proximity to the lot, with those closest paying the most.

Mike Martin, A.D. Martin Lumber Co.

Mike Martin, A.D. Martin Lumber Co.

“It is not fair for those companies to get to park there for free,” said Mike Martin of A.D. Martin Lumber Company. He suggested the city establish a parking permit for the lot, “and you could make some money on it.”

Gores and Associates Principal Jim Gores said he had two commercial vehicles, one of which was usually left at the lot, which is adjacent to his offices. “Normally one is kept at an employees home and one there overnight,” he said. Gores said the lot works well at the present time, except in the winter when snow is not plowed off of the lot. “When there are events going on, it would be a courtesy to the general public to have those commercial vehicles parked elsewhere,” he said. “A fair number of those are parked there for a long time.”

Warpness agreed that the issue is one of fairness. “It galls me every time I drive by. Providing free gratis parking at the citizen’s expense is not correct. As a business owner, their responsibility is to provide parking for their vehicles, it’s not the city’s.”

City Administrator Steven Weaver said he had enough information to prepare a proposal to the council, which will be brought back at a future meeting.