Calhoun: Wake-Up Call

LoDo parking on Rockies opening day: How high will costs rise?

LoDo is one of Denver's great success stories. While other historic parts of downtown were literally wiped off the map by urban "renewal" in the '70s -- which turned Victorian-era buildings into parking lots -- lower downtown is full of turn-of-the-last-century warehouses, all now repurposed for this century. Now you just need to figure out how to get there.

When the multi-modal transportation center at Union Station is finished in 2014, getting to LoDo will be easier than ever -- and at least the mall buses are already shuttling to the new light-rail station in the Platte Valley. But in the heart of LoDo, parking is a mess. Although business owners are looking forward to the completion of the new projects, they're lamenting the loss of those 400 parking places in front of Union Station, which closed for construction at the start of the year, pushing monthly parkers into the few parking structures nearby. That pushed out the daily parkers -- and pushed up the prices. Some have doubled over the past few months, to $16 or even $20 a day.

By-the-hour workers are now scrambling to find places to park, as are the people heading to LoDo to do business, or to meet friends on a patio and enjoy the sunshine...and the sight of the city ticketing cars lucky enough to have snagged spots on the street and unlucky enough not to have moved before the meters expired.

People are getting creative about getting to LoDo -- taking public transport, riding B-cycles -- and they will continue to come to this vibrant spot. But already business owners are worrying about what will happen when baseball gets under way at Coors Field in ten days.

Anyone want to guess what parking lots will be charging on opening day?

The area around Union Station has gone through many changes over the years. Track them in our slide show "Remaking Union Station Plaza."

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Patricia Calhoun co-founded Westword in 1977; she’s been the editor ever since. She’s a regular on the weekly CPT12 roundtable Colorado Inside Out, played a real journalist in John Sayles’s Silver City, once interviewed President Bill Clinton while wearing flip-flops, and has been honored with numerous national awards for her columns and feature-writing.
Contact: Patricia Calhoun

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