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Boulder launches new parking program for popular Chautauqua trailhead

BOULDER, Colo. - Boulder wrapped up the first day of a new pilot program aimed at reducing cars and congestion at the popular Chautauqua Park and neighbors said they are optimistic with the results they've seen so far.

The city came up to Park-to-Park with the goal of mitigating congestion at the trailhead and neighboring streets.

As part of the program, hikers can park at designated free lots and get shuttled to the trail head.

Hikers can also take discounted Lyft rides to the trailhead. Those who still prefer to park must pay an hourly rate for the premium to park close; it's $2.50 an hour

Neighbors living near Chautauqua Park have been plagued with parking woes as the trail has increased in popularity. It's estimated thousands of people visit the trail in a single weekend.

"When we moved here 39 years ago, there was plenty of parking. So now it's just changed a lot," said Carol March.

Neighbors watched their street throughout the day, curious how the launch of the program would change the parking situation on their street. Sharon Caulfield said she liked what she saw.

"Now the street looks like a normal street in a normal town. Ordinarily we have just a complete blockade of cars to the top of the street to the next one," said Caulfield.

While March likes the program, she said running the program two days a week isn't enough. This neighborhood would like to see this program implemented every day of the week.

"It's only weekends. What, like people only come here on weekends? That's not true. People are here all week. We'll see what happens Monday through Friday," said March.

Still, neighbors say it's a start to a better future for the neighborhood as well as the park itself.

Caulfield said the increase in foot traffic is an indication that the park and its trails are stressed by so many visitors.

She was impressed by how many people started using the program just on the first day.

"This has really been amazing how quickly people have picked up on this to figure it out," said Caulfield.

The shuttle runs every 15 minutes from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

For more information on the program and pick-up locations, click here.