LoDo bars say red bagged, no parking meters are putting them in the red

DPD says it is for a safety concern
Posted at 4:36 PM, May 31, 2018
and last updated 2018-05-31 21:50:08-04

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DENVER -- Bar owners near Coors Field are calling foul on the City of Denver and the police department for parking restrictions they say are hurting their bottom lines.

"I just see green dollars flying out of my pocket, and the pockets of my servers, and everybody else on this street," said Falling Rock Tap House owner Chris Black.

Three long-time Denver watering holes reached out to Contact7 after months of getting the runaround about why the meters in front of their businesses along Blake St. between 19th and 20th St. are being red bagged prior to every Rockies game.

"That's the biggest part. Not knowing who's responsible. Not knowing a timeframe," said Swanky's Vittles & Libations owner Mark Kinsey.

The red bags or no parking restrictions first showed up on their stretch of Blake St. last summer, but that was for an Xcel gas line project which is now complete. The red bagging starting again in April right before the Rockies' Opening Day game.

"It's a big deal. We're all concerned," said Kinsey.

With nowhere for customers to park, bar and restaurant owners near Coors Field said the red bags are putting them in the red during what should be their high season.

"It's hard for us to believe that too. This is normally the time of year that we make our money," said Black.

"Lunches are probably down at least 50 percent right now," said Sports Column general manager Kyle Hesseltine. "You have to park two blocks away. You're going to walk by six or seven different restaurants, chances are you are going to stop into one of those instead."

What's more, they said, is crews are red bagging the meters 24 to 52 hours before every Rockies homestand.

"They brought in a city worker on Sunday at 1:30 or 2 o'clock in the afternoon and he came to bag all these meters for a game that wasn't until Tuesday," explained Black.

The owners said they have been trying to get answers since April.

"Day after day one person points the finger at somebody else," said Hesseltine. "You just can't get to the bottom of it and we're already almost to June right now."

Denver7 contacted Xcel, Public Works and the Denver Police Department and got the runaround ourselves, but hours later finally got some answers.

A public works spokeswoman told us Denver Police is responsible for the red bagging along Blake St. between 19th and 20th. A DPD spokesperson said the parking restrictions are in place for public safety related to events at Coors Field.

However, police wouldn't provide any specifics on what the public safety concern is, why it is only impacting this one block or why crews are being asked to bag the meters so far in advance.

"Other blocks that are the same distance from Coors Field than this aren't touched," said Black. "Something dealing with safety of the baseball field. We're all for that, that's fine but they shouldn't be bagging them 52 hours in advance."

For these long-time Denver bar owners, they want to know what is going on and if there is any kind of compromise to keep them out of the red.

"It feels like our hands are tied. We can't do anything about it," said Kinsey.

"I think that shows a very lack of concern for business owners in this city," said Black.

In response to our inquiries, DPD provided the following statement to Denver7 Thursday afternoon:

"The Denver Police Department requests for some meters to be bagged for events at Coors Field as a safety precaution. While we can understand a business's, concern regarding limited parking in front of their business, our purpose for the parking restrictions is public safety. We are currently working with Denver Public Works to see if there are means to reduce the timing of the parking restrictions. Additionally, we are more than willing to discuss the bagged meters with the businesses."