DENVER -- Despite off-site parking plans required by the city to reduce parking congestion near construction sites, the FOX31 Problem Solvers have learned Denver construction workers continue to use street parking while they work on major projects near the Capitol Hill neighborhood.
“I understand the residents and their frustration because we take up a lot of their spots, but at the same time, we have a job to do and it’s kind of hard to park five blocks (away) and lug tools back and forth,” said Ernie Lopez, a construction worker who regularly parks near his work site at Speer Boulevard and Grant Street.
While it is not illegal for workers to utilize street parking, the city launched a new policy in the spring, requiring construction companies to develop an off-site parking plan for workers and subcontractors working on long-term projects.
However, the city did not review any parking plans until the FOX31 Problem Solvers filed a public records request to see them. City enforcement has not yet occurred.
“We are seeking compliance before enforcement," said Nancy Kuhn, a spokesperson for Denver Public Works. "Recall these companies were not required to have a parking plan in place when they started their projects (so, they weren't planned or budgeted), so they're adjusting to this new ask from us and we see they're working on it."
Kuhn said the city could send inspectors to any site if it is determined the companies are not following their plans. The city could also issue a “stop work” order.
One company working on a project at 400 N. Grant St., Martines Palmeiro Construction, submitted a parking plan to the city on Aug. 8, 2019.
According to MPC, the company and its subcontractors have secured parking on a monthly basis at the Cherry Creek Shopping Center.
“Each subcontractor will have a foreman or other designated employee who will shuttle employees from the lot to the jobsite and back,” said Tony Lajimodiere, the CFO, in an email. “Their car will then be parked at our job trailer parking lot or on the surrounding streets, decreasing the number of vehicles parked on the street exponentially. This procedure is detailed in our plan submitted to the City of Denver.”
Lajimodiere said the plan would likely start next week.
Cory Palmeiro, the president of the company, also indicated some workers could park in the parking garage that is being constructed once it is safe to do so.
“We try to the best of our ability to control the problem,” said Palmeiro. “We live here. This is our home too. We want it to be a good thing for everyone. We will continue to do everything we can and make this growth on our site as easy as possible for you and your neighbors.”
Workers told the FOX31 Problem Solvers they did have a meeting about a possible shuttle schedule.
“I just heard that it’s a possibility that we might have to be shuttled, in which really ain’t going to be too good for me,” said Desmond Vigil, who works on a site near Speer and Logan. “I got kids that I got to get to practice certain days a week. I’ve got school certain days a week.”
Shaw Construction, which is working on a construction site near East Seventh Avenue and Grant, said it would provide 50 parking spaces in the garage located at 720 Grant St.
The FOX31 Problem Solvers watched whether the off-site parking lot – with 50 spaces – was being utilized. In the morning hours, a producer observed many vacant spots while workers continued to park in the street.
“Shaw (Construction) has secured the maximum number of spots available near the site and although we advise against it, public parking is still being used,” said Tamara Bujakowski, a spokesperson for Shaw Construction, which leased 50 spaces in a private lot. “Moving forward, our project team is going to reach out to our neighbors, check in with them and encourage open lines of communication."
A third company, Holland Partner Group, recently submitted a plan to the city that included the following options:
- Subcontractors can have their employees meet at subcontractor's office. Subcontractors can shuttle employees to job site.
- Subcontractors can utilize carpooling or van pooling. Subcontractors can make a request to the city to have a meter bagged within walking distance to job site. Holland would require a minimum ratio of five employees per meter.
- Subcontractors can have their employees utilize the park-and-ride lot at Interstate 25 and Broadway.
Holland Partner Group did not respond to FOX31 by our deadline but told the city, "Holland estimates the financial impact for this plan ranges from $250,000 to $300,000 based on approximately 200 workers over the remaining 230 plus working days. As you are aware, the recent policy update was implemented well after this project started construction. None of the parties involved, (Contractor, developer or owner) could have predicted this policy update mid project. Furthermore, Holland does not have the lawful right to enforce or prohibit someone from parking in a legal parking space. Holland has shown that we are proactively operating with the recent policy update. We urge the city of Denver to strongly consider implementing other forms of enforcement like permitted parking for resident which would allow the city of Denver to monitor, ticket and enforce the rules and law created by the city."