By Allen Cowgill
The southeastern end of the Highland neighborhood, often referred to as Lower Highland or LoHi, may have some new parking rules.
The Denver Department of Transportation and Infrastructure (DOTI) has been working on a draft plan that calls for some significant changes to parking rules in Lower Highland, including paid parking and two- and three-hour time limits for parking.
The first major change in the draft is that the streets in Lower Highland would switch to paid parking with a two-hour limit. This includes streets south of but not including West 32nd Avenue, east of but not including Umatilla Street and west of I-25.
Payment would be made via pay stations or an app. There is also a three-hour parking time limit proposed in the drafts on many streets within two to three blocks just outside the proposed paid two-hour parking zone.
These include most of the named streets south of 35th Avenue running from Lipan Street to Wyandot Street, as well as some portions of numbered avenues between 28th Avenue and 33rd Avenue between Zuni Street and Lipan Street.
Also proposed in the draft is a three-hour parking limit on both Tejon Street and Navajo Street north of West 35th Avenue and south of West 38th Avenue along the commercial sections of the corridors. Residents of the neighborhood who live in buildings with 50 units or less would get a neighborhood parking pass and be exempt from the time limit as well as having to pay for parking. They would also receive a pass for guests.
This is a major change from prior DOTI policy to be more inclusive of residents living in multifamily condos and apartments because, according to DOTI spokesperson Vanessa Lacayo, in the past DOTI only allowed neighborhood parking passes for buildings with nine units or less.
Applicable hours for the two-hour paid parking zones and the three-hour parking zones would be from 10 a.m.-10 p.m. and exclude Sundays and holidays. Parking rules would not change for the remainder of the Highland neighborhood.
Lacayo said that DOTI will also introduce “additional accessible parking spaces on Central and Boulder Streets to provide convenient and comfortable on-street vehicle access for persons with disabilities” as well as installing “bicycle/scooter corrals at strategic locations to accommodate bicycle and scooter parking demand.”
Lacayo noted that community input has been sought throughout the process, and that impacted residents received a letter about the draft parking changes in March, soliciting public comment and input through April. A virtual community meeting was held at the end of April.
The registered neighborhood organization Highland United Neighbors Incorporated, the City Council District 1 office and other affected residents and businesses were included in the stakeholder committee. The soonest that these changes would be implemented is this winter. Research from UCLA urban planning professor Donald Shoup stated that converting free parking to paid parking can often help local businesses, by ensuring that parking spots are being turned over to provide availability for customers to park.