CHEYENNE, Wyo. — During Friday’s work session, City Council members expressed frustration over a lack of updated information from the Cheyenne Police Department regarding downtown parking enforcement.
Councilmembers requested beforehand in a September 2022 resolution to have the session with the updates. These included a downtown block-for-block data assessment on the number of parking citations and repeat offenders as well as the amount of revenue generated from garages and lots.
With the data, the members would initiate a downtown revenue assessment to determine which areas have low or high parking occupancies. From there, the city could adjust parking rates and redistribute two-hour notices.
Council President Richard Johnson said he was disappointed to instead received a general data set spanning the entire city the day before the session. The data is identical to the one he was presented with when the September resolution was drafted.
“That’s why I drafted the resolution to find this information out, the public was misinformed we were misinformed,” he said. “I feel that we’re nowhere further than we were last September.”
The CPD has been overseeing parking enforcement and permits for the city’s roadways and garages since 2018. When the department took over responsibilities from the City’s Clerk Office, no new staff was hired and the number of administrators was reduced from four to one. Ted Miazga, who is the parking administration manager for the department, explained this during the session.
Councilmember Pete Laybourn asked Miazga, if he reviewed recommendations made in the 2016 Downtown Strategic Parking Plan from the Cheyenne Metropolitan Planning Organization.
Created by Kimley-Horn and Associates, the plan $85,858 plan outlines ways for the city to improve its downtown parking experience through methods including investing in new technology like ParkCheyenne, collaborating with local institutions like the Union Pacific Railroad to get better parking lot access and developing stronger customer service programs.
Aside from implementing the mobile application ParkCheyenne, which helps the department manage mobile pay parking enforcement, digital permitting and payment processing, Miazga said he tried to establish parking committee in 2018 to review the necessary documents. However, no notes or recordings of the meetings were ever taken, and it later disbanded.
Laybourn then asked if parking lots between 15th street and the railroad tracks are monitored by the division, adding that the city will need them eventually for the Reed Avenue Rail Corridor project.
The project, introduced to the city in 2018 by the Metropolitan Planning Organization, would create a pedestrian walk area along 15th Street and 24th Street featuring businesses and entertainment centers in the West Edge.
Laybourn said the project does not include the creation of more downtown parking spaces.
Miazga said the Union Pacific rents most of those parking lots for its employees and he had not been invited to or initiated any parking discussions with the railroad, despite this being a goal in the 2016 plan.
The division responsible for monitoring parking spaces in three garages; the East Service Lot, George Cox Garage and Spiker Garage.
Councilmember Michelle Aldrich said with the number of tickets they receive in those lots and can’t enforce to get paid back, staff should consider giving up on managing parking altogether.
“I’m at the point that maybe we should give up parking altogether; we don’t do anything with it, we let it govern itself and only take care of the accessible parking we need to at the ADD compliance,” Aldrich said.
During 2022, the Spiker Parking Garage had a revenue of $219,818, the east lot had a revenue of $8,476 and the George Cox Parking Lot had a revenue of $69,379, for a total of $297,000 in parking ticket revenue, according to City Treasurer Robin Lockman.
Councilmember Tom Segrave agreed with Aldrich, saying the parking should be like the “wild west” and be go unmonitored. Segrave said the city expanded the parking garages to accompany downtown employees. He is frustrated that business owners aren’t promoting the garages and that city staff has no control over it.
“We can manage a lot of things but we can’t manage parking,” he said. “We are a failure.”
Councilmember Jeff White suggested that one way the department could improve parking customer services, as recommended by the 2016 plan, is by updating the CPD’s website with more detailed downtown parking rules. White said the public information officer for the department could be responsible for adding them to alleviate Miazga’s workload.