Rant: What’s the deal with overnight parking?

OK, OK, you’ve heard us 5280-ers complain about parking in Denver a lot. And I myself have previously grumbled about the city’s overnight parking rules. But nothing seems to be changing—and it’s frustrating.
Denver began phasing in paid overnight parking in early 2011, meaning people had to start ponying up to leave their cars on the streets after 10 p.m. It’s not all that costly—in my downtown neighborhood, it’s $1/hour from 10 p.m. to 2 a.m.; $.50/hour from 2 to 6 a.m.; and free from 6 to 8 a.m.—but finding a spot is rarely easy. If (when) metered parking is unavailable, we’re left with some problematic options.

Option 1: Park in the two-hour free parking zones. The problem: They’re legal for only two hours even at 3 a.m. Who’s getting up in the middle of the night to schlep outside in the cold and move their car every two hours? Why can’t we do away the two-hour rule from midnight through a more reasonable time like, say, 8 a.m.?

Option 2: Park in a lot. It’s a more costly option—though many have separate evening prices, some of which are in the $5 range. The problem: In most of the downtown lots I’ve looked at, those rates end at 6 a.m. And you will get a ticket if you don’t move your car—a hefty $40-plus fine in some lots near my apartment. Again: Who’s heading to work at that hour? Why don’t we extend the rate until 8 a.m. when most people have at least opened their eyes and are therefore capable of getting to their cars.

Yes, parking is a money maker for the city. Yes, it’s in demand. But instead of forcing us into a system that is, quite frankly, exasperating for anyone wanting to stay late at a friend’s place (or to avoid drinking and driving after a night on the town), why doesn’t the city come up with a sensible plan that reflects the habits of city dwellers? We’re so over moving our Subaru at 5:45 a.m. After all, it’s not ski season anymore.

Rave: Nina Storey In Town For One Show Only

Longtime Coloradan-turned-Los Angeles-transplant Nina Storey returns to the Front Range tonight at the Soiled Dove Underground. The pop-and-soul-influenced vocalist has been touring all over the West in recent months to promote her latest record, Think Twice, and tonight’s show will serve as its local CD-release party. (Storey also is contemplating shooting a video for the album here in Colorado.) The new tunes are Storey’s most sophisticated work yet, and the Soiled Dove’s intimate cabaret is the perfect setting for her extraordinarily rich and luxurious voice. The all-ages show, which will help raise funds for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, also features Denver pop-rockers Rachel and the Kings, as well as a display of works from local artists. Tickets: $12. Doors at 7 p.m.; show at 8 p.m. 7401 E. First Ave., 303-830-9214

—Image courtesy of Nina Storey

Daliah Singer
Daliah Singer
Daliah Singer is an award-winning writer and editor based in Denver. You can find more of her work at daliahsinger.com.