Denver Parks and Recreation Puts Up a Parking Strip in Cheesman Park

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Cheesman Park, now with more private car storage. Photo: David Sachs

The 168 parking spaces in Cheesman Park just don’t cut it, according to Denver Parks and Recreation, so the department recently added 22 spaces between 11th and 12th avenues on Cheesman’s east side.

Reserving more space for private cars in the 80-acre public park comes after the East Cheesman Neighbors Association asked Parks and Rec to “relieve some of the parking pressure” in the neighborhood, said Scott Gilmore, deputy executive director of parks and planning.

“There’s not a lot of parking in the park, so the limited parking in the park means that people are parking in the community,” Gilmore said. More parking spaces will make Cheesman more accessible to people who live far away, he argued.

Safer conditions for walking and biking on streets leading to the park would make it more accessible to far more people than a few parking spaces will, but that’s not on the agenda.

Gilmore estimated that the parking zones on Cheesman’s circular, interior street had capacity for 100 cars before the addition. The total absence of private automobile storage on Cheesman’s perimeter, he said, exacerbates the parking “shortage.”

But on weekends, the park’s busiest time, 8th Avenue has an entire lane for parking. Other streets adjacent to Cheesman — 9th, 10th, and 11th avenues — have some space for free car storage as well. Not to mention all the potential parking spaces on neighborhood streets that don’t abut Cheesman.

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Image: Denver Parks and Recreation

Urban parks are supposed to be refuges from the noise and dangers of motor traffic, and some cities are continually reducing the presence of cars in parks. Not Denver.

Cheesman is already compromised, acting as a (very pretty) traffic circle. Adding parking spaces will just make it less of a park and more of a motorway. But in the eyes of city government, that’s preferable to a scenario in which nearby residents park a short walk from their front doors.

  • iBikeCommute

    The Cheesman Park master plan called for closing the west entrance at 12th ave to traffic to prevent drivers from cutting through the park and not expanding parking spaces. I’m glad the city spends so much money developing plans which can then be completely ignored- https://www.denvergov.org/Portals/747/documents/planning/master_plans/CheesmanPkMasterPlan-Complete_2008.pdf.

  • John Riecke

    I know that when I go to a park I always look forward to dodging traffic.

  • Vertigo700

    I’m really getting tired of the NIMBY-crap being pulled by these central Denver neighborhoods who are for some reason deathly afraid of anyone besides themselves being able to park on their streets. Just look at all the increasingly-ridiculous parking restrictions in Congress Park, Baker and near Cheesman Park. This despite the fact that most if not all these residents have their own parking lots or garages so they are not really losing out on parking. But god forbid anyone unsavory park on their block. Seattle actually discovered that parking on both sides of a street encourages slower speeds because it psychologically “narrows” the road to drivers. People should parks on streets (particularly residential ones that we want lower speeds on) and not in places like parks, where the point is to get away from cars and traffic.

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