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Parking Downtown, any good deals?

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Winnipeg Manitoba...
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Parking Downtown, any good deals?

Greetings,

I will be visiting Denver for four days in early August and was wondering where would be a good and inexpensive place to park? I am most interested in seeing the State Capitol, so anywhere near there (or along the free shuttle route) would probably be best.

I am a little disappointed that such a big city like Denver would not have an expanded free downtown shuttle, or at the very least, a day pass to ride public transportation for a set price. Even Winnipeg (where I am from) has three free bus routes that travel around our downtown. Oh well...

Any help would be greatly appreciated! Thanking you in advance!

Mac Maroon

Littleton, Colorado
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1. Re: Parking Downtown, any good deals?

As I guess you've discovered, Denver is not the most public transportation -savvy city in North America! It's getting better, though, particularly with the installation of Light Rail which is expanding soon. We do have the free 16th Street Mall Shuttle, which is better than a lot of other cities with no free transport at all! Other than that, the bus routes are for commuters in and out of downtown and tourists seldom use them.

Are you really spending four days just in downtown Denver? It's just that there isn't that much to see here if you're planning on parking in one spot and staying in dowtown. The Capitol, Art Museum and Colorado History Museum are steps from each other and won't take more than a day or two to thoroughly explore. You'll need a car to get around to see everything else worthwhile, like the Museum of Nature and Science and the Zoo, which have free parking lots. And I hope you're planning to drive out of the city to see the mountains, which is the best part of Denver!

For downtown parking, the further away from 16th Street, the cheaper the lots will be. I work on 18th Avenue and Pearl, north of downtown. There are several nearby lots which charge less than $5.00 a day to park, but you'd have to walk about six blocks to reach 16th St. Mall or the Capitol, not too bad of a walk. You could also just use an on-street parking meter, about $1.00 an hour for two hours max (you can't refeed the meter legally) Here's a Denver website, which is hopefully working better than when I tried it, with a good map of downtown and the parking in different areas:

downtowndenver.com/parking/park_choose.html

Have a great trip!

Winnipeg Manitoba...
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2. Re: Parking Downtown, any good deals?

Shaken_Bake,

Thanks for your help, I will take your advise and check out the web site you provided. I plan on being downtown for only one of the days I am in the Denver area. There are so many other things to see, I don't know if four days will be enough! I am planning to visit City Park (Zoo and Nature & Science Museum) and the Museum of Transportation, as well as drive down to Colorado Springs, and maybe to Black Hawk for some gambling. I wanted to see the Mint, but I hear you have to book in advance for security reasons? Oh well, the reviews say it stinks, so I guess I won't miss anything.

Some of the other cities I've visited, I bought a day pass to have unlimited rides on the public transportation. I suggested this to Denver Transit, but it fell on deaf ears. It's so convenient having a day pass, and while I'm on vacation, I want to relax and enjoy the ride and take everything in. I can't do that battling traffic behind the wheel.

I am looking forward to my first visit, hopefully I'll have a good time!

Mac Maroon

Westminster...
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3. Re: Parking Downtown, any good deals?

RTD does offer day-passes, 10-ride books and monthly passes (amongst other things). $4.50 for local routes, $10 for regional for the day passes.

Here's the websites:

http://www.rtd-denver.com/ - Schedules/routes

http://store.rtdpasses.com/ - buy passes online.

My favorite parking spot downtown is on Lawerance between 16th and 15th. On the right side (it's a one way street). It's $4 after 5pm and all day Sat/Sun. I'm not sure of the parking price during the week though. It's just a small lit up sign that says "Park" and points right and you drive in and go straight down. It's easy to miss, but if you're looking for it it's noticeable. Everytime I've parked in there it's be very empty, usually at least the 3rd level (down) is empty. They do have an elevator up that leads you right out to 16th St. It's right accross from ESPN Zone.

Winnipeg Manitoba...
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4. Re: Parking Downtown, any good deals?

mecu,

Thanks for letting me know about the day passes, that's fantastic! I checked their web site in January and even sent them an e-mail and asked if they had day passes. I was told they didn't sell them, so maybe it's something new? Anyway, that's great, because it will be so much easier for me to park in one spot downtown and then ride the bus to the various tourist attractions (Ocean Journey, Pepsi Center, Coors Field, Union Station, etc).

The trip is coming together! Thanks again for your help!

Mac

Littleton, Colorado
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5. Re: Parking Downtown, any good deals?

Mac, Denver may be a lot smaller than you think! All those sites you mention are within walking distance of each other, from the Union Station terminus of the 16th St. Mall shuttle! Pepsi Center and the Aquarium are close by each other and it would be easy to park there. Coors Field is about three blocks away from Union Station. I don't know if you've studied the route maps and schedules for the buses, but I have a feeling that you could walk more quickly than taking a bus! The core of Denver's downtown is tiny compared to many other cities. We are also a city of automobiles and with the grid system of streets, it's fairly easy to find your way around. My hat's off to you to negotiate a new city via public transport, I'm just wondering if it may be more trouble than it's worth!!

Winnipeg Manitoba...
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6. Re: Parking Downtown, any good deals?

Shaken_Bake,

I guess it is my fault, but I forgot to mention that I will be travelling with my 70+ year old mother. While she's in pretty good shape and can walk a fair distance, I would prefer to take the bus than to wear her out. After all, we are on vacation, I am sure that you will understand.

Thanks for letting me know, that was very nice of you!

Mac

the great blight of...
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7. Re: Parking Downtown, any good deals?

On the topic of Denver’s public transportation, you have good reason to be somewhat disappointed by its limitations. American cities, with few exceptions, tend to have much more dismal service than Canadian cities. The reasons for this are complicated, but suffice to say we are a nation that sacrificed our cities to the automobile. The strong libertarian leanings in many regions of the country, particularly in the West, mean that people tend to be somewhat distrustful of social programs like public transit. This is in strong contrast to Canada, where social programs are an accepted and cherished government arm. Even in Winnipeg, which has a metropolitain population of ~700k, the local transit system sees approximately 170,000 users daily. That means that about one quarter of the population uses the bus every day. In Denver, with a metropolitain population of about 2.6 million, the local transit authority (RTD) sees about 300,000 users daily. That is about 11% of the population. As small as that number is, it is actually impressive for a mid-sized American city outside of the East Coast.

Thankfully, the tide is slowly turning in the US, and Denver is one of the best examples of a city that is reinvesting in mass transit. Voters recently approved a measure which will increase the local rail transit by 120 miles. When completed in twelve years or so, Denver will have the most extensive rail network of any American city of comparable size.

While Denver does not yet have as large and efficient of a system as say Vancouver (a Canadian city with a population similar to Denver’s), it is on the right track. (Pun not intended) As far as free downtown shuttles, Denver is somewhat unique in America for having one at all. In fact, the city has recently been toying with the idea of expanding the shuttle network.

Hope you enjoy your stay in Denver. RTD has a lot of expansion ahead, but for the time being the bus system is quite accomodating in the city. You and your mother should have no problems getting around. Maybe you can visit again in another decade or so : )