May 10, 2023 - Development

Report: Downtown Denver is 13% parking, below the national average

Parking lots in downtown Denver. Image: Courtesy of Parking Reform Network

Downtown Denver has less surface parking than other big cities in the U.S., according to a recent analysis by Parking Reform Network, a nonprofit that advocates for more walkable cities.

Why it matters: More space for cars means less space for retail, parks and housing, which can drive up living costs and lower the area's appeal, the organization says.

By the numbers: 13% of downtown Denver is devoted to parking, compared with 20% of the average city center in the U.S., the analysis found.

Context: Denver has implemented a handful of policies in recent years to discourage new parking citywide, including slashing minimum parking requirements for new developments in favor of more affordable housing. (Downtown does not have a minimum parking requirement at all.)

  • Last year, officials also doubled meter prices citywide — though the jump from $1 to $2 per hour hasn't seemed to deter drivers from ditching their cars.

The big picture: Parking lots are disappearing in Denver to make room for more people.

  • But downtown has a ways to go when compared to some of the country's most pedestrian-friendly cities — like San Francisco, D.C. and Chicago — which dedicate less than 5% to surface parking.

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