The Cherry Creek Parkageddon Never Came. Where Is All the Hoopla?

Image: Google Maps
Image: Google Maps

It’s hard for local news to pass up a parking rage story. So when the Cherry Creek Shopping Center began charging for parking in January, reporters sprang into action to catch some of the hyperbole flying around.

Weeks after the new parking system began, business owners and customers had concluded that the change was a “total disaster.” The fees were “killing business.” The parking lot was “completely empty.” The Denver Post editorial board even weighed in, cautioning readers of a “retail collapse.”

Fast forward about five months. Denver Business Journal reporter Monica Mendoza decided to follow up and look at actual data. Turns out, Cherry Creek businesses did better in February 2017 (the month after parking fees began) than in February 2016. So much for the Parkageddon.

CBS4 went so far as to bring a hidden camera into the mall to investigate the plight of paid parking. Image: CBS4
CBS4 went so far as to bring a hidden camera into the mall to investigate the plight of paid parking. Image: CBS4

More from the DBJ article:

The Denver neighborhood, which is bound by 6 th Avenue, Colorado Boulevard, and Cherry Creek S. Drive and includes the Cherry Creek North shopping area and the Cherry Creek shopping center, saw an increase in retail sales tax collections in February from $2,368,058 in 2016 to $2,408,471 in 2017.

The city doesn’t report sales tax collections for just the mall. It does take a look at just Cherry Creek North Business Improvement District. In just Cherry Creek North, the sales tax collections also were up from $718,406 in February 2016 to $753,016 in February 2017.

That suggests that sales tax collections in the mall were up slightly as well, from $1,649,652 in February 2016 to $1,655,455 this past February.

The mall also attracted five new stores recently, DBJ reports.

Nearby residents and RTD riders were storing their cars at Cherry Creek Shopping Center, which was part of the rationale for implementing the paid parking system. Free parking is no birthright, and it can actually hurt businesses by decreasing turnover, as economist Donald Shoup has shown. Parking spots are a commodity, and should be priced as such.

The first hour of parking is free at the Cherry Creek mall, which is full of luxury brand stores. The second hour costs $3, and the third hour costs $2. It’s $1 for each hour after that. About 20 shops validate parking.

We’re looking forward to the slew of the local news reports highlighting the business benefits of paid parking.

  • Stores validate parking, will they also give me a discount if I bring them a transit stub instead?

  • 516303

    I wouldn’t celebrate just yet. The updated August DBJ article reports that sales tax collections were down $465,637 during the February to May quarters. The previous was a 2.7% increase, this is a 7.5% decrease. Doom and gloom? Probably not. Less sales taxes. Yes.


Thursday’s Headlines

Yesterday members of the Colorado House Transportation Committee killed HB1099, a bill that would have banned automated traffic enforcement statewide, including photo red light cameras. Top photo: After a legislative victory, members of the Denver Streets Partnership posed for a photo outside of the State Capitol: Jack Todd and Piep van Heuven of Bicycle Colorado, Jill […]
Pullquote: Denver’s disappearing green spaces are not “because of a growing population of people. It’s because of a growing population of cars.” —Alana Miller, Frontier Group

Wednesday’s Headlines

From Streetsblog Fact check: Colo. Rep. Jovan Melton wants to ban red light cameras. But he justifies his position with false info. A hearing for his bill will happen at the State Capitol this afternoon. (Streetsblog Denver) Opinion: Denver paved over paradise and put up a parking lot. Contrary to the conclusion of a recent Denver […]
A parking lot across the street from Union Station, Denver's transit hub. Photo: David Sachs

Opinion: Denver Paved Over Paradise and Put up a Parking Lot

As the population grows, “nearly half the land in Denver’s city limits is now paved or built over,” shrinking the city's green space, according to a recent series in Denver Post. But there’s something important missing in their account. The city’s pavement problem isn’t because of a growing population of people. It’s because of a growing population of cars. It’s the roads, driveways and – perhaps most egregiously – the parking lots we’ve built to accommodate more cars.