Dining in LoHi? Make sure you follow all posted parking signs

Categories: The Dish

Lingerdiningroomfromabove-thumb-565x317.jpg
Lori Midson
The real estate inside Linger is spacious -- but finding parking nearby? Impossible.
Before I left for the airport a week and a half ago, I parked my car in an empty lot in LoHi that I've been using since I moved to the neighborhood. It was one of the last reliable caches of parking in the area, although in recent months it's tended to fill up fast because of the proliferation of restaurants that continue to draw hordes to the neighborhood -- and the construction projects that promise more restaurants and hordes to come.

All good things come to an end, and I knew it was only a matter of time before business owners on my block put a stop to non-customers parking on that property. Unfortunately, that end came while I was away: I returned yesterday to find a new towing sign -- posted last Tuesday -- and my car gone, locked in car jail in the hinterlands with a $429 bail that had mounted over the course of four days.

Maneuvering the parking situation in my 'hood has long been a struggle that continues to get worse; on Friday nights, I'm lucky if I can score a spot five blocks from my apartment building, which does not have places for all of its tenants. I think LoHi might be the only neighborhood in the whole city where the parking police actually monitor how long your car has occupied its curbside, unmetered but two-hour-only real estate -- which means that I've paid an ungodly sum of money to Denver after the minutes slipped away quicker than expected and I didn't move my vehicle on time. Add to that the fines levied because I didn't read the street-cleaning schedule or fine print that bars you from leaving your car in certain spots overnight.

There's nothing I can really do about it, though I contemplated paying my towing fine with a bucket full of change or a stack of obscenely marked bills. It's the property owner's prerogative to save his lot for consumers, and perhaps I can take solace in the fact that my street-parking transgressions are creating jobs and funding programs.

Unless someone builds a parking garage in the neighborhood, I'll probably just give up and move out of LoHi. I'll miss the wealth of restaurants that are within walking distance, but I can't afford to get ticketed and towed over and over. And I don't really want to begrudge people their nights at Lola, Linger, Williams & Graham, Ale House at Amato's, Masterpiece Delicatessen and everything else that's open or on its way. I get it. Those places are good. The promise of good restaurants is why I moved to the neighborhood in the first place.

My advice on finding parking in the area? Don't. Take a cab. Because the pursuit is going to drive you to drink, and then you shouldn't be operating a motor vehicle anyway. But if you have to bring wheels, obey the signs, no matter how meaningless you think they are. And if you're moving to this area of town -- which, despite the crowds, is admittedly wonderful -- make sure parking is part of the deal. Or ditch your car. You've got everything you need right here.

Location Info

Venue

Map

Lola

1575 Boulder St., Denver, CO

Category: Restaurant

Linger

2030 W. 30th Ave., Denver, CO

Category: Restaurant

Williams & Graham

3160 Tejon St., Denver, CO

Category: Music

Ale House at Amato's

2501 16th St., Denver, CO

Category: Restaurant

Masterpiece Delicatessen

1575 Central St., Denver, CO

Category: Restaurant

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38 comments
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Michelle Baldwin
Michelle Baldwin

I lived on Cap Hill in a busy restaurant/club area and had a residential parking permit that made it a lot easier to park. Doesn't help if you can't find a spot on your block, but it at least alleviates some of the trouble http://www.denvergov.org/tabid...

Scott B
Scott B

Why not move to one of the little bungalows that surround the neighborhood for blocks and blocks and blocks? You can build a garage and park extra cars in your yard if you want.

Annex Lo Hi from North Denver
Annex Lo Hi from North Denver

Laura, you wrote: "Maneuvering the parking situation in my 'hood has long been a struggle that continues to get worse; on Friday nights, I'm lucky if I can score a spot five blocks from my apartment building" It has become worse because of the restaurants that you review and their customers.  Your "'hood" also has families that have lived there for generations and they too have to deal with parking to get to their homes.  Happy hour at Linger or a scoop of ice cream at Little Man are not priories.  They're pains in their asses.  I wonder if they write blog posts about how yuppies screwed up their parking options.    

Lbortolotto
Lbortolotto

As a member of the Highland neighborhood association and the neighborhood parking committee, I can report to you all that Denver's 'master plan' includes 'forcing' truly urban/pedestrian-centric neighborhoods like LoHi by avoiding the parking situation altogether. The City planners would like to see a pedestrian-focused neighborhood like you might find in NYC, Chicago, or San Francisco, where owning a car is practically a luxury.

Obviously, there is hesitation here in Denver as our public transportation system is not nearly as developed as those other urban centers.  How are we supposed to go skiing on weekends if we don't have a car?!

Rumor has it the Tavern Group has purchased a fairly large building in the neighborhood with plans on opening the "Tavern LoHi."  They intend on turning the existing surface parking lot associated with said property into a multi-story parking garage.  I would to suggest everyone in this forum to write a letter of support for this proposal to the Tavern owners.  Perhaps the City will also offer the Tavern Group some incentives to move forward and build the garage.  

     - If you build it, they will park.

biker dave
biker dave

"if you build it, they will park"

more parking spaces equals more traffic.  maybe then you will advocate turning 32nd ave into a 4 lane freeway.  a better solution would be to extend the free union station circulator across the platte river.  i'm sure the local businesses and restaurants would subsidize this if it brought in more business and avoided the expense of building multi-million  dollar garages.

Mara
Mara

People could also consider taking the light rail or bus, if that's an option.  It would certainly be cheaper than a cab. LoHi is literally only a 15 minute walk from Union, and that's if you're walking slow.  Plus the walk through riverfront and over the Platte is really nice! 

I live in the area, and my condo's building has underground parking, by the way, so parking isn't a concern for me.  I do, however, commute to Boulder, so I take advantage of RTD/proximity to Union Station on a daily basis.    

offdisc
offdisc

If the walk over the bridges is too far, walk 2 blocks to 15th and grab the 28 or 32. Both run right through LoHi.

Derek
Derek

I think it's sad that you would give up on living in the neighborhood because it is finally maturing.  If you want every experience you have to cater to the ability to park your car, go to Lowry.  Honestly, I am sad to see the number of new 300+ unit apartment buildings going up that then include 400+ parking spaces.  As the city grows, we need to accept that there are some neighborhoods you wouldn't want to have a car.  That's healthy and that is a sign to me that we are finally becoming a real city.  Hopefully, that will create a justification for more pedestrian support and possibly, in the long run, develop an argument to push for even more alternative transportation options to link urban neighborhoods.

Blink65319
Blink65319

Linger and Amato both offer valet parking. It's very easy.

Dawn
Dawn

Valet parking fills up - it isn't always an option.

Lori Midson
Lori Midson

When I lived in Chicago, people would park their cars in the middle -- yes, the middle -- of the street and leave their flashers on all night. Every block was a makeshift parking lot. Sucked. 

Alex
Alex

 My sister told me about the plastic chair wars in their Chicago neighborhood. Insanity.

Mantonat
Mantonat

One of my friends got his tires slashed in Chicago for parking in someone else's "spot" on the street - a street he also lived on.

NoBo Bears
NoBo Bears

If this happened to your friend in the winter, well, they were basically asking for it. He/she who digs out the spot, "owns" the spot. NEVER disrespect the kitchen chair, lawn chair, et. al. thing holding the spot for the digger of said spot.

D-Hause
D-Hause

I say...just deal with it.  Parking sucks...the food and booze are great. The area of town is great and lively.  So you have to walk a few blocks, we're all overweight Americans anyway...it won't kill you.

Dave5
Dave5

The City doesn't owe you parking. 

Build a parking garage? Who does that? the City? Lots of money there. BTW - the City is the taxpayer, I don't want my taxes raised so you can park near your favorite restaurant.

These neighborhoods are vibrant because they are scaled to the pedestrian - not the car and the acres of parking lots that cars require. Go to Broomfield and see the ample parking, but be aware of the huge financial capital that is require to build it. Also notice the type of restaurant that exists with ample parking. 

Good restaurants, exciting downtowns and complicated parking are not directly correlated one-to-one but there's a connection.

really
really

 B/c all the hipsters now think the area now called LoHi (STUPID names) is where its at, we must all conform? 

Generations of my family were born and raised in that area.  And we - especially the elderly of our family - still like to patronize some of the old joints.  But b/c of all the ridiculousness down there, they should now abandon their lifelong haunts and go to BFE suburbs?

Mantonat
Mantonat

If you live in a neighborhood and you want to stay there, do what all the other historic neighborhoods have done: form an association and get the city to limit street parking to residents with tags. One person complaining, even on a blog, does nothing. A whole neighborhood complaining will get you your own parking sticker.

Uncledave8
Uncledave8

So, how exactly does this mesh with the grand Blueprint Denver plan that wants to create these "vibrant" neighborhoods?  If every neighborhood that starts to attract businesses creates an association to fight parking by non-residents, where exactly are patrons of these businesses supposed to park?  Honestly, I avoid these magnet business areas because parking as become such a nightmare.

Mantonat
Mantonat

"If every neighborhood that starts to attract businesses creates an association to fight parking by non-residents, where exactly are patrons of these businesses supposed to park?"How about at the park n ride or in their garages at home? 

Cololisa
Cololisa

"In their garages at home?" That will make those restaurant and other business owners happy.

John
John

Mantonat, I'm curious why anyone believes that residents deserve some preferential access to parking in front of their houses. Doesn't seem fair to me.

Otis
Otis

If I came and parked in front of your house in the burbs, I bet you would be accosting me before I got out of my car.

Sarah
Sarah

Wouldn't it be because they live there and pay taxes within that city for things like schools, parks, road repairs and tourism?

Mantonat
Mantonat

I don't necessarily think they deserve it, but they've figured out how to get it. Just follow the blueprint that's already been established. 

Scott
Scott

The condos and apartments are what cause the parking problems, it's not the restaurants, IMO.   

Uncledave8
Uncledave8

I could be wrong about this Scott but I believe that parking requirements for residential buildings are far more stringent than for businesses.  Plus, who would buy or rent a condo/apartment in one of the "hot" areas of the city if parking was not provided?  No one wants to drive around forever to find someplace to park at their fancy new condo.

Scott
Scott

Laura Shunk lives in a hot-hot restaurant neighborhood, in an old apartment building with no parking.

FletchMonger
FletchMonger

Advice: Take a B-Cycle!

Claire Allee
Claire Allee

SO FLETCH  what happens to these restaurants when it rains or snows?  Sit on their hands until the sun shines because intelligent people do not ride b cycles in Denver traffic in bad weather.  What about the "older folks" who support these establishments--riding bikes to enjoy a little lunch??!!  How many bike racks would be allowed in front of these restaurants?

offdisc
offdisc

Advice: take the BUS!  OMG, what a concept! There are 4 bus lines that run through the area, 2 of which run right past Lola, Linger.For less than $5, you get to sit comfortably and not worry about parking or tickets.

And Rain and Snow don't stop the buses either. Much safer than driving!

offdisc
offdisc

No elderly or kids on buses? Have you ridden one lately? Many passengers ARE elderly or families with kids.  BTW, I'm closer to AARP than hipster age. :-)

sick of stupid
sick of stupid

 or you have kids, or you have elderly members of your party?  Bikes and buses DON'T cut it in these circumstances.

Clearly it is a bunch of 20 something hipsters making these comments.

Uncledave8
Uncledave8

Welcome to Denver's master plan.  They want all of these vibrant neighborhoods but City Council and the Zoning department do zero to ensure adequate parking while they grant permits for new businesses as fast as they can.  So, LoHi joins South Gaylord and South Pearl and West 32nd to name a few where new businesses try to flourish when there is no parking available and where the neighborhood associations fight tooth and toenail to make sure no one who doesn't live there can park there.  BAD planning all around.  I think Laura is right - this is becoming San Francisco or New York where there basically is no street parking at all - if you must go to the new hot spots in these neighborhoods, plan on paying for a cab as part of your night out.  In the meantime, the city should require new businesses to submit a "parking plan" prior to issuing new permits and liquor licenses.  And, no - 1 space for every 25 expected visitors doesn't cut it.  I know the idea of the "master plan" is that we should walk everywhere.  How long to you suppose Linger, Lola, Vita, Williams and Graham, etc. would last if they relied solely on foot traffic?  Rant complete.

Rusty Shackleford
Rusty Shackleford

 

I think Laura is right - this is becoming San Francisco or New York where there basically is no street parking at all - if you must go to the new hot spots in these neighborhoods, plan on paying for a cab as part of your night out.

I'm not quite sure I understand why having neighborhoods based on pedestrian-centric urbanist design is a bad thing.

Sarah
Sarah

It is not a bad idea, but most of us don't live in the neighborhoods where we like to eat...so driving is a necessary evil.

Uncledave8
Uncledave8

Because Denver is not (and I doubt will ever be) neighborhood centric enough to support the density of businesses in the "hot" areas of town based on business generated by foot traffic. How many people who support the high end businesses in LoHi live in walking distance?

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