After the success (meaning: lack of violent uprising) that was Denver’s response to Cherry Creek Mall charging an hourly rate for parking, the newest entity to embrace the idea is Boulder’s Chautauqua Park. The plan, which Boulder is hoping to pilot this summer, would charge drivers $2.50 an hour (which is reportedly double the rate for parking in the rest of the city of Boulder) to park not just in the lot at the main trailhead, but along Baseline Road and even in the surrounding residential neighborhood.
Paid parking is a somewhat recent trend — we used to be able to park in Cherry Creek North and LoDo for free, remember? So the question isn’t so much what residents can do about it; it’s which free-parking benefits might be the next to fall. Here are a few modest proposals.
1. City Park, Wash Park, Cheesman Park, etc.
Once one Colorado park falls to metered lots, it makes sense that most of them will follow. Pretty soon, every trailhead and picnic spot will carry a parking fee. Just like on most of Colorado’s university campuses, there will be a sliding scale based on proximity — so if you want to park close to the Washington Park Boathouse or the City Park Pavilion, you'd better get ready to pony up.
2. Tattered Cover
Taking a cue from its old stamping grounds in the tony Cherry Creek North, Tattered Cover could start charging for parking at all its locations. For the downtown branch, this would actually be a step up, considering that there’s no provided parking whatsoever.
3. Casa Bonita
Denver’s famed “You gotta go, but don’t eat anything but the sopaipillas" isn't so much a restaurant as a beloved local institution, much like Elitch’s or Lakeside Amusement Park. Both of those places own their own parking lots and charge accordingly — so why doesn't Casa Bonita? Fees could be collected by cliff divers, angry gorillas or Black Bart.
4. Denver Zoo
How this isn’t already a thing is a mystery. The Zoo put in a huge underground parking garage some years back that seems to just be begging for ticketing stations. With the demise of SeaWorld, the closure of Barnum and Bailey’s Circus and zoo culture in general on the decline ( Saturday Night Live sketches notwithstanding), the Denver Zoo might soon need to find other sources of revenue.
Keep reading for more places that could accommodate paid parking.
Love your brothers (and sisters!) as you do yourself, feed the needy, judge not lest ye be judged, turn the other cheek, embrace humility and compassion and service to humanity…. If we’re going to decide as a nation that these rules are all just lip service, then we can forget that whole rich man/eye of a needle bullshit, too, and just divide up the parking for religious services based on congregants’ ability to pay, right? In other Biblical revisionist news, Jesus loved the money lenders. Big fan. To say otherwise is fake news. Sad!
6. Red Rocks
Speaking of holy places: One of the most secular places in Colorado is inarguably Red Rocks Amphitheatre in Morrison…and in all that sea of parking lots, it doesn't charge for a single rocky inch. Granted, paid parking would choke traffic on the few arteries leading into the parking lots before big shows (not to mention Film on the Rocks and other Colorado mainstays of summer), but consumer convenience has always taken a back seat to the interests of revenue.
We Believe Local Journalism is Critical to the Life of a City
Engaging with our readers is essential to Westword's mission. Make a financial contribution or sign up for a newsletter, and help us keep telling Denver's stories with no paywalls.
Support Our Journalism
7. I-70 Between Denver and Winter Park (October to April Only)
Face it: You spend more time at a standstill than you actually spend driving on I-70, so it’s only fair that Colorado charge you for "parking" in that very valuable state property. It’s as simple as this: If you want to ski without paying for sitting in traffic, you’ll need to do it between May and September. (CDOT claims no responsibility for any lack of snow during this season, as this is a weather-related issue and classified as an Act of God. Thank you for your patronage.)
8. Your Own Garage
Look, Trump has to pay for the wall somehow.