DENVER (CBS4) – Denver is considering changing thousands of downtown parking meters. Critics say the new wording on them is flat out misleading and deceptive.

The city admits the messages are confusing and some drivers are getting tickets they don’t deserve.

Chris Katchis is a college graduate, but he couldn’t figure out exactly what he was supposed to do when he pulls up to a meter late at night.

Then there’s Michael Canges, a University of Denver law school graduate and one of Denver’s top lawyers.

“It’s confusing, it’s confusing,” Canges said.

In March the city began allowing overnight parking at thousands of downtown meters. So they put stickers on them saying “overnight parking allowed” from 10 p.m. to 8 a.m.

“My reaction would be of course overnight parking with no money,” Canges said.

But that’s wrong. In small print on the other side of the meter are parking rates covering overnight parking. The sign doesn’t tell the whole story. Many drivers have misunderstood the sticker, assumed the meters are free overnight, and been hit with tickets.
space Many Find Wording On Denver Parking Meters Misleading

Brian Rickel got a $25 ticket last month for not filling the meter late at night. He would have paid but thought the wording meant it was free.

“They need to change some of the wording,” he said. “The wording is misleading.”

“Some of the feedback we received is seeking clarification for what is on the meters,” Daelene Mix with Denver Public Works said.

Mix said they did not do mean to mislead people to raise more money. But she said something will likely have to change..

“We are considering refining the messaging on the meters,” she said.

The city is now considering tweaking the messages to make things more clear by adding the word “paid” somewhere.

The city says it will finish labeling the meters by mid May. Then it will figure out how to revamp the signage on the meters to make it clearer people have to pay during the overnight hours.

Comments (13)
  1. MIK says:

    Not unlike Denver to do something deceptive… and if you don’t pay up they’ll send their pushy cops to beat the cash out of you — park on a lot… its worth the money to have peace of mind and make a company rich and not the City of Denver.

  2. Stanley says:

    So as i see it, from 6am-8am is free? It is outside the boundaries of 8am-6am

  3. Darlene says:

    There are also the covered meters which used to mean that the parking was not charged that day. Now it means that the legislators who have a free lot to park in can take up all the parking on the streets, too, without having to pay a cent. There are no signs saying so, though.

  4. Richard M says:

    I love Mix’s comment that there was no intention of making things confusing. Really? Typical of a gov’t. official being coy. Give me a break. Stop treating us citizens like we’re idiots. We have Hickenlooper to thank for the rise in price of parking meters. It used to be free parking after 6 pm. Now, you have to wait until 10 pm. Most major metropolitan cities around the country are going bankrupt, and this is just one way city gov’t uses to make money. The gov’t., city, state, and federal, have bankrupted us into oblivion, and who ends of paying the price. Well, we do of course, the citizens. So, if you want better gov’t., STOP LISTENING TO THEIR LIES!!! They all say what they think you want to hear when running for office; then, conveniently forget all their promises once elected. Obama is a perfect example of that!!!!

  5. edit says:

    This might have even qualified as a news story, IF you had actually told the readers how much it would cost to park overnight. Hello?

  6. StevenCee says:

    As a new resident, I too received a ticket at one of these ambiguous meters, but before the new law went into affect. What was worse, is that the ticket-writer stuck it, folded up, in the passenger-side mirror! Now, how was I to know what that was? I noticed it a few days later, and almost tossed it, thinking it was just a promo card from a downtown club. But no, it was a ticket….
    Now, I never even considered that a downtown, entertainment district would make parking on the street illegal, at the exact time places closed. This means everyone must rush out the door to their cars, no talking, no getting a bite to eat somewhere, etc. This is CRAZY! You’d think the city would want residents & visitors to come downtown, hang out and spend money, NOT get ticketed, due to some wack, arbitrary revenue-trap! This is the kind of insulting action that will drive people AWAY, I know I will think twice about returning. I don’t need to worry about making it to my car asap, soon as the doors of a venue close.

    I’ve lived in many cities, & can’t think of any with so restrictive a “safe-period” of parking, except maybe the day of street-cleaning, etc…. Oh, and the night I got the ticket, I did look for a sign, but didn’t see any, warning me about the 2-6am no parking rule…

  7. David says:

    The City of Denver has always been out for the buck. That is why I don’t go into the city unless I have to. I spend my money everywhere in the metro area but Denver. Not worth the hassle.

  8. Shirley says:

    I just received a $25 ticket last night for the same exact reason that the sign was misleading. Every other car on Market Street had the same citation and we all were wondering why? I think it is unfair to mislead people with such a sign. I’m trying to contest it right now but knowing how the state is dying for any money I doubt I will get out of it.

  9. PJL says:

    Apparently this has not changed. I got a $25 ticket tonight because I “misread” the sign and determined payment was not necessary after 10:00 at night. I also looked around and saw that all the lights on the meters around me were flashing red, or that no payment was in them for parking there. I had no idea why I had gotten a ticket until I found this article. I could not find any information online where it discussed the meter rates and hours downtown. This is particularly confusing for those of us who remember just a few years ago when parking downtown was free after a certain time everyday.

  10. NGG says:

    I too was confused by the signage and just got a $25 ticket (at 10:13pm) for not paying after 10pm. I have a PhD; I’m a pretty good reader. The additional piece of confusion came when I tried to feed my meter. It was 8:15 and I put in 8 quarters. The last quarter buy didn’t me any extra time. I assumed this meant any time past 10pm is free. The sign says “Overnight parking 10pm to 8am Allowed” which confirmed this. I didn’t realized I needed a lawyer to read the fine print.

  11. AllI says:

    YOu should Check out the meters on 12th near Lincoln! The sticker says Two Hour, The Digital Display say ! hour but it only allows you to pay for 30 minutes!!

  12. Alll says:

    Sorry, I meant to say:
    You should Check out the meters on 12th near Lincoln! The sticker says Two Hour, The Digital Display say 1 hour but it only allows you to pay for 30 minutes!!

    (Wish there was a way to delete you own post for when your brain gets ahead of your fingers…)

  13. Xander Page says:

    I had the same experience and I think the information posted on the meters is absolutely ridiculous. It feels like the city is imposing a new tax on patronizing the local businesses downtown! Boo! I don’t like that we are now being charged to park past 10pm and I *really* don’t like how I found out.

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