Apr 1, 2022 - News

Denver's street sweeping tickets are a cash cow for the city

Denver's annual street sweeping program begins April 1. Photo: Joe Amon/The Denver Post via Getty Images
Denver's annual street sweeping program begins April 1. Photo: Joe Amon/The Denver Post via Getty Images

The slogan for Denver's street sweeping program is meant to instill a little hometown spirit:

Flashback: "Show your pride, move your ride," a sticker on the transformer-like trucks once read.

Reality check: Hundreds of people forget to move their cars to make way for the brush trucks, which are out between April 1 through Nov. 30.

  • And the $50 citations the city issues are a huge source of revenue.

By the numbers: The number of tickets reached a three-year high of 154,539 in 2021, per figures provided to Axios Denver by the city.

  • That's an average of 636 citations a day, and a 12% increase from 2019.

Of note: If all violators paid the street sweeping fines — and not everyone does — it would have generated more than $7.7 million last year.

  • That's three times what the program cost to run in 2021, according to Denver budget documents.

The other side: Street sweeping is designed to keep dirt and debris out of the air and water, officials said Thursday during a photo op for the sweeper fleet ahead of its return today.

  • Denver's famous "brown cloud" back in the 1980s was 10% street dust.
  • Just last year, the city collected 52,393 cubic yards of dirt and debris, keeping it from sewer drains and water sources.

The bottom line: Denver's upping parking fines, not lowering them. So be smart and sign up for reminder alerts for street sweeping.

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