Paid parking coming to Cherry Creek Mall in January

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DENVER -- The Cherry Creek Mall has a monopoly on parking in the neighborhood and soon it will be a lot harder to land any free parking.

Starting in January, the mall is launching a new “smart parking” system designed to help shoppers quickly find a convenient spot to park. But saving time will come at a cost.

Digital signs will display how many spaces are available on each deck, according to a statement issued by the mall Thursday.

The system will also help find your car when you leave so you won't have to take a picture of where you parked. You will be able enter your license plate number in a kiosk and it will remind you where you parked.

Mall officials didn’t say how much it will cost to park in the garages and lots once the system goes into effect, but rates will be "among the lowest in the surrounding area," the release said. The first hour will be free, according to the statement.

“The 5,000-slot parking structure at the shopping center accounts for about 70 percent of all the available parking in the neighborhood,” the Denver Business Journal reported.

The system and parking rates are scheduled to go into effect in January.

Fees will be waived during community events, including the Cherry Creek Fresh Markets, Cherry Creek Arts Festival and Cherry Creek Sneak, the release said. Mall employees will not have to pay to park.