When pioneers settled Denver, they found minerals begging to be mined, snowy mountains, and acres of terrain waiting to be tamed—but no parking in Cherry Creek. Finding spots to store their Subarus has long been shoppers’ biggest gripe. The neighborhood’s recent reinvention as an “urban village”—more people in the same amount of space—probably won’t help.
In 2016, Cherry Creek North plans to roll out three initiatives: more visible signage for its underused garages; a partnership with SP Plus, a parking-management company, that will allow drivers to reserve spaces online; and a district-wide valet. In addition, the developments going up in Cherry Creek are creating 30 percent more parking spaces than prescribed by zoning requirements.
But the root of the parking problem goes beyond parking. “If you add density, you need transit,” says Ken Schroeppel, an urban planning instructor at CU Denver. “We’re getting the density, but so far not the transit.” Julie Underdahl of CCN’s business improvement district agrees that creating a direct connection from the neighborhood to Union Station is one of the area’s most pressing needs.
Once the commuter rail line between Denver International Airport and Union Station starts running next month, Union Station is expected to welcome approximately 100,000 travelers a day. According to Underdahl, tourists spend significantly more dough than locals on a per-shopper basis in the Cherry Creek neighborhood. Which is why Cherry Creek has considered starting a shuttle between its shops and downtown. But Underdahl is still hunting for a definitive solution—and, in Cherry Creek, the shoppers are still circling.