Public parking concerns Auraria drivers

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Posted Tue, Nov 15, 2016

After seeing a Denver Water shuttle parked on campus near the less expensive Aspen and Beech lots, students and faculty questioned if members of the public,

Auraria students and faculty raised concerns after seeing a Denver Water shuttle parked on campus near the less expensive Aspen and Beech lots. [Photo: Arielle “Razi” Taggart]

DENVER, Auraria Campus – With over 40,000 cars using the parking lots on Auraria Campus each week, some began to wonder if the public was abusing the parking facilities that students, staff and faculty rely upon.

After seeing a Denver Water shuttle parked on campus near the less expensive $3.25-a-day Aspen and Beech lots on 5th street, students and faculty questioned if members of the public, with no connection to Auraria or the three colleges, were hoarding these lots in lieu of more expensive parking downtown.

According to Blaine Nickeson, the assistant vice president of Campus Relations of the Auraria Higher Education Center, the shuttle in question is not for picking up those who park, but those who ride.

Blaine Nickerson, assistant vice president of campus relations at the Auraria Higher Education Center says, “Our understanding is that Denver Water is running a shuttle van to one of their projects from the Auraria West light rail station, not from our parking lots." [Photo: Sara Hertwig]

Blaine Nickeson, assistant vice president of campus relations at the Auraria Higher Education Center, says, “Our understanding is that Denver Water is running a shuttle van to one of their projects from the Auraria West light rail station, not from our parking lots.” [Photo: Sara Hertwig]

“Our understanding is that Denver Water is running a shuttle van to one of their projects from the Auraria West light rail station, not from our parking lots,” Nickeson said. “We’ve seen the shuttle van regularly loading and unloading passengers to the light rail platform.”

Putting a finer point on the recent bus sightings, Denver Water spokesperson Stacy Chesney added the shuttle is on the Auraria Campus to transport employees from the Auraria West light rail station to the Denver Water administration building at 1600 W. 12th Ave.

“Denver Water’s operations complex is in the middle of a multi-year construction project that has dramatically impacted employee parking,” Chesney explained. “The shuttle helps employees get to work by picking them up at the Auraria West light rail station and at free, temporary Denver Water-dedicated parking lots (closer to Denver Water than Auraria Campus) and driving them to Denver Water’s administration building.”

Aerial Photo of Civic Center, Photo from The Denver Post

Aerial photo of the Denver Civic Center, which was filled with Broncos fans during the Super Bowl 50 victory celebration. Many fans used Auraria parking lots, making it difficult for students and faculty to find parking. [Photo: Denver Post]

Concerns about public parking are nothing new on campus. Students, teachers and staff who worked during the Broncos’ Super Bowl celebration parade this past February saw how quickly the lots filled up with those headed to the festivities.

According to Nickeson, the low demand for parking on Fridays, evenings and weekends shows that the majority of parking lot users are those associated with the campus. Those visiting the Pepsi Center or Mile High Stadium have also been known to park on campus and walk to their respective events.

“AHEC does actively promote special-event parking on a space-available basis at times when we have available capacity,” Nickeson said.

Daily Parking on 1010 5th Street for Students, Staff and Faculty only. [Courtesy Photo]

Signage on 1010 5th St. explicitly reads, “Auraria Students, Staff & Faculty Only.” [Courtesy Photo]

Generally, special signage is placed outside of lots to advertise parking for events such as Denver Broncos home games on Sunday.

“I mean, if it’s only temporary, then yea, I think that’s fine,” said MSU Denver student David Anaya. “I mean, those lots are public even when class isn’t going. Some people use those lots for other events like Six Flags or for the Pepsi Center. I remember last year the lots were full for the Broncos parade.”

Signs posted at lots like Beech on 5th Street are meant to discourage the public from using the lots; however, they are meant to be treated as guidelines, according to Nickeson. Because students are not required to have school IDs, it would be difficult for AHEC to enforce.

“I don’t think it’s fair to park in (the) students’ parking lot,” said University of Colorado Denver junior Bradlie Jones. “They have other options to park and pay, and I think there should be some identification to park since the population is getting bigger, and it’s inconvenient for students to have to look around for parking and be late for class.”

Regardless of who is filling the parking spaces on the Auraria Campus, the campus and the surrounding lots are open to the public.

“We are not taking any steps to actively limit access to parking on campus,” Nickeson said, “as it would be both cost-prohibitive and inconvenient for our campus community.”

EDITOR’S NOTE:

Razi Arielle Taggart, Abigail Bowen, Lupe Gonzalez and Adam Uribes contributed to this article.

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