Downtown parking overnight? Denver unveils its years-in-the-making, long overdue plan today

For two decades, the Westword office was in lower downtown, where the parking rules seemed to change inexplicably, almost overnight. Or actually overnight: We emerged from one all-nighter to discover that our cars had been turned around by city trucks when the direction of Market Street was reversed. But the new option the city will roll out today has been years in the making.

That option? Overnight, on-street parking downtown.

One of Denver's most peculiar, and pesky, rules has been the ban on parking downtown between 2 and 6 a.m. -- ostensibly because of street-cleaning schedules. As LoDo has grown into a major entertainment area, it's seemed particularly strange that people coming out of the bars at 2 a.m. who have no business driving could not leave their cars on the street without risking a big ticket. And as more and more people have moved downtown, the demand for overnight parking for guests just added to the impetus to change parking rules.

This afternoon, after over a year of discussion, Denver officials will gather at 17th and Wazee streets to start rolling out the new overnight, on-street parking option for downtown. That option will alternate, so that streets can be cleaned every other night -- which means club-hoppers will want to read the fine print before they park for the night. Or have a designated parker to do the job after let-out.

The new rules aren't just designed for bar-hoppers, though. Overnight guests will now be able to park on the streets, and those just passing through will be able to stop in the wee hours by one of those 7-Elevens that are popping up all over downtown. And the city will even be able to collect some cash in the process, since those Smart Meters will be programmed for the overnight fees. Not that those meters are easy to read in the dark.

Better bone up on the rules before you need to park overnight. You can read all about the new program at

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Meter Data
Meter Data

It is good someone believes smart meters aren't only for electricity but have a much wider meaning. Thanks for the confirmation


Avoid Denver's downtown, night and day, until the City stop trying to balance its budget on the backs of parkers.


So, downtown parking used to be free from 10pm until 2am. Now it will cost $4 ($1/hour) to park for that time period. Also, if you parked your car at 8pm and paid for the time from 8pm-10pm you didn't have to move your car until 2am. Now, according to the website, if you park at 9:59pm you will have to move your car 100' at 11:59pm.I live downtown and have to wonder what idiot(s) decided this was a good thing? Why not just have the meters charge the $0.50/hour from 2am-6am? Or, gasp, extend the free parking from 10pm-8am. Now the city will have to have meter readers out 24x6 - since shockingly Sunday is still free.

Michael Roberts
Michael Roberts

Thanks for doing the math, John12589. Very interesting.

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