Since 2011, Denver public works has issued $3.8 million in overnight parking tickets and fines

Drivers say meter signs are misleading

DENVER - Since June 2011, the City of Denver has issued approximately $3.8 million in tickets and fines for 100,000 cars parked in unpaid metered spaces downtown after 10 p.m.

The program for overnight parking was fully implemented in June 2011 but even before the rollout was completed, 7NEWS reported on the public confusion about the fine print that explains the overnight fees.

"Seems very deceptive, it just seems like they're going to allow you to park overnight. Its says nothing about payment or paid parking overnight," Brian Rickel said in April of 2011.

Today, the sticker is unchanged.

The larger, primary label on the meters says there is a two-hour parking limit from 8 a.m. through 10 p.m. and parking is allowed overnight. The information about the payment due for parking between 10 p.m. and 8 a.m. is on another, smaller sticker.

"The big bold letters say 8 to 10 p.m.," lamented Kyle, who did not provide a last name, "and all of a sudden I get a $25 ticket."

"Originally, there was some confusion about, just because parking is allowed, doesn't necessarily mean that it's free," said Emily Williams, spokeswoman for Denver Public Works.

"It's a bit confusing," said Kyle. "So after 10 p.m., I feel like I'm safe but the fine print says all these parameters."

The city says its trying to clear up the confusion.

"For several months now we've been in the process of redesigning the communications that are on the meter -- both on the meter screen and on the sticker -- so that's something that people will see moving forward," Williams said.

Records show meter 1229, located outside of the Diamond Cabaret at Colfax and Glenarm, is the single location where the most overnight tickets were issued -- a total of at least 130. Two spaces across the street have racked up at least 156 tickets.

"It's a popular place and, I mean, just like I'm sure a lot of Lodo is a highly ticketed area," Williams said.

7NEWS watched space 1229 on a recent night and saw the first ticket issued just five minutes after 10 p.m.

"Parking is a privilege and you have to be able to either control yourself enough to pay your meter and know how long you're going to stay or choose an option that -- if you're not sure what kind of night you're going to have -- pay a little bit more and park at an off-street lot," Williams said.

In downtown, the most overnight tickets are issued along Market Street. One across the street from the ViewHouse has totaled 122 tickets in the last 18 months.

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