Trying to stop DUIs, the Colorado Department of Transportation offers free parking, brunch in LoDo

DENVER - The Colorado Department of Transportation is testing a new idea to stop drinking and driving -- offering free overnight parking and other deals to get people to park their car after a night of drinking instead of driving home.

For the next three Friday nights -- August 15, 22 and 29 -- people planning to drink in LoDo can park their cars in a parking lot at the corner of 21st and Larimer streets anytime after 6 p.m.

Parking is free and security guards will be on site.

People who park in the lot will not only get free overnight parking, they'll also get a $20 voucher to use the Lyft service for a ride home and they'll get vouchers for a free breakfast the next day.

What's the catch? There's only 30 spots in the parking lot, you can't pick up your car until 7 a.m. and you have to move your vehicle by 10 a.m. on Saturday, or risk getting ticketed by the lot.

7NEWS was there as the first car waited for the lot to open at 5:50 p.m.

"We're going to the Rockies game," said Mark Roush. "Since we have a free spot to park, we'll probably hang out downtown."

"Do you plan on drinking?" asked 7NEWS reporter Marshall Zelinger.

"Yes," said Roush. "We don't have to worry about someone not drinking and driving."

Within minutes, two cars were already in the lot, but by 10 p.m., there were still a few spots remaining.

"We thought there was going to be a line down the street," said Ashlee Roush.

The Roush's can't get there car until the morning and they have to get home tonight in Westminster.

"Well, we got a voucher for $20 for a Lyft," said Roush. "(Tomorrow,) friends are going to bring us back down here, we're going to get our $2 off sandwiches that they gave us and hang out and then drive home."

"We're just still amazed after decades of education and letting people know what's going to happen, that so many, literally hundreds, are still getting arrested for DUI," said Colorado State Patrol Captain Jeff Goodwin.

7NEWS also watched as Rockies fans tried to park in the lot, as a free spot for a few hours.

They had to settle for the $25 lot right next to the free lot.

CDOT's Last Call is part of its annual Labor Day DUI Crackdown. Learn more on CDOT's Facebook page.

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