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Paid Parking Returns June 1

You'll start paying at parking meters again on June 1.
You'll start paying at parking meters again on June 1.
Anthony Camera
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Yes, everyone wants to know when bars can reopen, when musicians can again rock the house, when the city's pools are no longer off limits.

But here's what everyone really wants to know:

When will Denver start charging for parking again?

Alas, that day has arrived. Starting at 8 a.m. today, June 1, Denver's Department of Transportation and Infrastructure (DOTI) has resumed some — but not all — of the parking enforcement activities that were suspended in March as part of the city’s response to COVID-19 and its stay-at-home order.

Downtown-area parking meters have been turned back on and will remain operational from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. After 10 p.m., they'll be free...not that many people will be headed downtown after dark, given the activities of the last few days. Outside of downtown, where there's likely to be even less action, the standard hours and fees for parking meters will apply.

Enforcement of time-limited, non-metered parking spaces and residential parking programs will also resume on June 1.

But you have until July 1 to reprogram your brain to remember your home's street-sweeping schedule; enforcement of those posted parking restrictions will begin then. That's also when the city will again enforce 72-hour parking limits.

Even after that, though, you'll get a few more free passes. For example, according to DOTI, "cars will not be booted until further notice."

Enjoy the freebies while you can, because pricier parking could be coming. A city task force is considering recommending that over the next three years, parking meter rates rise to $3 an hour over the current $1. The group estimates that "raising existing meters from $1 to $2 an hour in Denver could bring in $8 million annually. From $1 to $3 an hour could bring in $16 million."

While that task force began its work months ago as part of the city's focus on climate change, money will be increasingly important in the cash-strapped days ahead.

The task force is also suggesting that the city consider investing in meter enforcement and exploring putting meters in new parts of town.

"The parking idea was proposed by the climate action task force and would be an outside recommendation to the city for consideration, but the city would need to properly vet and do analysis on all proposals before making a decision either way," explains Elizabeth Babcock of the Denver Office of Climate Action, Sustainability and Resilience. "This is part of a much larger package of policies, programs, education and outreach, and revenue options across all of city government related to climate change and resiliency."

The task force has two more meetings before it's slated to release its final report to the city in mid-June. Find out more about the Climate Action Stakeholder Process here.

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