Bag It: Other Things for Which Denver Could Charge Residents

Ah, cupboards full of plastic bags, we hardly knew ye.
Teague Bohlen
Ah, cupboards full of plastic bags, we hardly knew ye.
In December, Denver City Council followed through on a long-proposed “Bring Your Own Bag” measure, courtesy of Councilwoman Kendra Black and with the approval of both stakeholders and her fellow councilmembers. Those retail establishments affected by the new ordinance — mainly grocery stores, but also gas stations, department stores and pharmacies — will charge customers a dime per disposable bag they use. Four cents of that is kept by the store; the other six cents goes to the city, which says it will spend some of the new revenue on supplying residents with free reusable bags to avoid the fees.

It's an environmentally friendly decision that will cause little more than a minor annoyance to Denverites before we get used to it, sort of like getting used to writing a new year in January. But the ordinance got us thinking — what else could Denver suddenly start charging us for that we’ve previously been able to take for granted? Here’s a list that we definitely don’t want to see come true.

The days when we could park near almost any retail strip for free, at least for a couple of hours, are dwindling — and, in some areas, long gone. Digital meters have only hastened the process, as have those “pay here” kiosks in some areas that don’t even let the next person who pulls into a just-vacated spot use the time left on the meter. So get used to it, Denver: If you want to park, you’re going to have to (always) pay.

Driving Downtown
Another cue that Denver could take from major metropolitan areas worldwide: the congestion charge. London is perhaps most famous for it, but San Diego has already adopted a version of it, as have Singapore, Stockholm, Milan and several others. The way it works is usually some version of this: If you want to enter a heavily traveled part of a city during peak hours (in London, for example, it’s any time from 7 in the morning until 6 in the evening, Monday through Friday), you pay a fee. And the way you pay the fee is already something CDOT has established with its Express Toll system, so the infrastructure is already in place.