Curtis Park Is the Perfect Place for Denver to Break Its Parking Addiction

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Image: Fox31

Can you imagine having to walk a block to your house after you park? Well one Curtis Park resident is already living this nightmare, reports Fox31.

“At night it’s ridiculous,” Keith Regensburger told Fox31. “We’ve had to park on the other side of the block over by the park sometimes.”

A developer wants to build two apartment buildings on two vacant lots at the intersections of 32nd and Stout, and 32nd and Downing. The apartments will be “micro-units,” minimalist homes with less space than the average abode, which means that 56 units will fit onto plots that might otherwise house two families.

Because these lots are small, the zoning code doesn’t require the owner to build off-street parking. Fox 31 calls this a “loophole” that will steal on-street parking from current residents, as if it’s theirs to begin with. Actually, building apartments without parking protects cities from getting overrun by car traffic. The more parking cities build, the more traffic they get, and the less friendly they are to people.

These apartments will also be in one of the easiest places to go car-free in Denver. The plots are one block away from the 30th and Downing light rail station, on three different bus lines, and next to the Stout Street bike lane, which is slated to become parking-protected.

City Councilman Albus Brooks wants to solve the “problem” by getting a nearby property owner to lease their parking lot, but that’s unnecessary. Instead he should ask the developer to market the apartments as a place to live car-free. And you know what would be cheaper than building or leasing parking spaces? Providing tenants with transit passes. Instead of attracting more cars, the neighborhood can attract residents without them.

Brooks usually supports smart transportation policy. Denver needs to break its parking addiction and Brooks has a perfect opportunity to show the city how it’s done.

  • John Riecke

    Yeah, anybody living in a micro unit at this particular location isn’t going to be a big “car person”. Many will probably not own cars nor want to. Some might even (gasp!) get rid of their cars.

    • And they might ride the presently under-utilized Light Rail line that goes to 30th & Downing. The Horror!

  • Bernard Finucane

    Considering how insanely wide most of the streets are in this neighborhood, they should just convert to slanted parking instead of parallel parking.

  • The entitlement to parking is so frustrating because it’s often immediately followed by or preceded by some comment about this new generation being so entitled.

  • osgoodschlotter

    With ski, camping, and mountain bike country over 60 miles away, and Colorado having the most “outdoorsy” population in the country, getting Denver to “break its parking addiction” is not a practical/logical approach. Everyone needs cars for their work and/or hobbies.

    Add in the urban sprawl of the greater Denver area (which now encompasses more than 4,500 square miles), and Denver-ites won’t be getting rid of their cars any time in the near future, if ever.

    Time to just suck it up. Parking in Denver is awful and we all just need to live with it.

    • You are right, since there isn’t any car-share, or car-rental places in Denver, nor are there any buses leaving from the Denver Bus Center (which Light Rail stops 2 blocks from) that go up to the mountains.

      “Everyone needs cars for their work and/or hobbies.”

      Um, no they don’t. I didn’t.

  • Patrick

    I think you might want to look at the studies done in Portland that show that not providing parking does not decrease the amount of residents that own cars. But that would not support your agenda so probably would not be something you would be interested in. Additionally, Denver City Council has surveyed residents in similar projects in Seattle showing that they do cause major problems.

    There are 55 row houses within a block of this development that have no access to off-street parking. These homeowners bought never expecting that city council would pass such an irresponsible blanket parking exception in 2010. So I disagree with your premise that this is the perfect place for this development.

    Instead of snarky comments about people maybe use your journalism background to investigate all sides, not just the ones that support your agenda.

  • jwilker

    I love the “parking addiction” thing. We have one car, but usually walk, bike or car share to get around. The car is for camping, airport trips, etc.

    All this talk about “who needs parking” seems to neglect to look at what happens when there’s a game or large convention or the Taste of CO, etc.

    “Just use a car share” is easy to say, harder when you sit in a car2go for 20 extra minutes circling blocks in a search pattern to find an empty spot to park it.

    I will say, I’m surprised that there aren’t more garages, surface lots are ugly for sure, but a few strategically placed garages could do wonders for this issue, and I’d guess add money to someone’s (the city if they owned them) coffers.

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