DENVER — A new city rule aimed at alleviating parking congestion near construction zones in Denver doesn’t seem to be fixing the problem, according to an investigation by the FOX31 Problem Solvers.
In March, Denver Public Works announced new procedures requiring construction companies to submit off-site parking plans to the city if they are working on large projects that will last longer than one week and cost more than $100,000.
However, the FOX31 Problem Solvers found construction workers still filling the open parking spaces in residential areas and in front of businesses, months after the new rule went into effect.
“This is a new policy. We are all getting used to it,” said Nancy Kuhn, a spokesperson for Denver Public Works. “It’s something we’ve never done before.”
Kuhn said the city had not requested parking plans from any of the three companies involved in construction projects near Speer and Grant, near the edge of Denver’s Capitol Hill neighborhood, until the FOX31 Problem Solvers filed a public records request to see some of them.
“You guys reached out to us, and we were able to try to address it,” said Kuhn.
Kuhn said the city is now monitoring the companies, Shaw Construction, Martines Palmeiro Construction, and Holland Partner Group, to make sure they comply with the requirements.
Although it is not illegal for construction workers to park in the street, the city has asked for the companies to follow the plans they’ve submitted to the city.
“We can do a correction order where we ask them to correct this,” said Kuhn, explaining that the city could ask them to stop working on the project if they are not following their own parking plan.
“There’s no place for me to park and bring my groceries in,” said Angelica Garcia, who lives in the area and is frustrated that she must often park far from her home. “How am I supposed to walk two or three blocks with groceries and two small children?”
Kuhn told a FOX31 producer that the plan submitted by Holland Partner Group was too weak, and that the city is working with the company to develop a more effective plan.
The Holland Partner Group did not respond to our request for comment by our deadline.
The plan filed by Martines Palmeiro Construction involved “working to coordinate offsite parking locations at Cherry Creek, Pepsi Center, or another designated lot…. Once a location is selected, we plan to utilize a shuttle company or requiring subcontractors to supply their own shuttling.”
“We are trying to be good neighbors when we start a project,” said Cory Palmeiro, president of MPC.
He said he only recently learned about the requirements for a parking plan and is working on making things right for the community.
“I can understand the frustrations with this area of town,” he said. “It’s been rough with all that construction out there. It’s good to see growth in the city, but there are pains that come with the growth, and we all need to work together to do the best we can with it.”
Meanwhile, Shaw Construction, which is handling a nearby project, told the FOX31 Problem Solvers “building in an urban setting is challenging, tight sites can lead to overflow to the surrounding areas and it’s our job as general contractors to alleviate the strain on the surrounding businesses and neighbors. Our project is located in one of Denver’s most highly trafficked neighborhoods where a lack of parking already exists. So, from the beginning, we’ve focused on open communication and have been sensitive to the parking limitations of the area.”
The company said it had secured the maximum number of spots available near the site, including 50 spaces in a private lot to help alleviate problems.
“Moving forward, our project team is going to reach out to our neighbors, check in with them and encourage open lines of communication,” said Tamara Bujakowski, a spokesperson for the company. “We’ll continue to discuss parking, material deliveries and overall logistics with all our subcontractors at our standing weekly meetings. In addition to this, our team will now send out monthly reminders to all our subcontractors / workers that parking on the public streets is not and has never permitted.”
— Lori Jane Gliha contributed to this report