Union Station redevelopment consumes some of LoDo's best free parking

View Larger Map Big news on the transportation front: The long-awaited redevelopment of Union Station into a new transportation hub got underway yesterday. Sure, it's just some preliminary work on utility lines, but considering the lengthy and convoluted back story to the redevelopment, just the fact that shovels are finally hitting the dirt is reason enough to celebrate.

The accomplishment comes with a sacrifice, however. The construction will apparently block off the northbound lanes of Wewatta Street between 16th and 18th streets, an area captured in the graphic above (if you have problems seeing the image, click "View Larger Map"). According to our calculations, that means that at least half of the best free parking in Lodo -- the two-hour parking spots on Wewatta behind Union Station -- will be blocked off. The meter-free stretch of asphalt, just a short walk through the station's underground walkway to the heart of LoDo, has long been a hidden treasure for the quarter-deprived parkers among us.

Construction on this stretch is only supposed to last for eight weeks, so here's hoping that the free parking comes back when it's done. Then again, since this area is destined to become a lively transportation corridor flanked by new ritzy development, it's surely only a matter of time until all these blissfully free spots are gone forever. In other words, enjoy them while the getting's good.