DENVER (CBS4) – A new pay-to-park system is now in effect at the Cherry Creek Shopping Center, and it isn’t getting a warm reception among shoppers CBS4 interviewed.

“It’s never been so full that we couldn’t find a parking spot — a reasonable spot — so to me it didn’t seem like it was necessary to charge customers for shopping,” said shopper Robin Schild.

The system was implemented Tuesday morning, and mall administrators refer to it as “Smart Parking.”

(credit: CBS)

(credit: CBS)

“If you look around this neighborhood everyone can see how dramatic the changes have been with respect to density, more people living here, more people working, much taller buildings, and that’s not going to end anytime soon. Parking has become a premium in Cherry Creek and the entire neighborhood,” said Cherry Creek Shopping Center General Manager Nick LeMasters.

(credit: CBS)

(credit: CBS)

The first hour of parking will be free. A second hour of parking costs $3, the fourth hour is $1 and each additional hours are $2 with the maximum $16.

(credit: CBS)

(credit: CBS)

The mall’s AMC Theatres will validate up to three hours of customers’ parking time. Some other businesses located inside the mall will also validate parking.

Cherry Creek Mall Parking

The parking system is being set up in an effort to make it easier for shoppers and people who eat at restaurants in the mall to quickly find spaces to park.

(credit: CBS)

(credit: CBS)

The new system shows drivers where there are spots available and a new app works in conjunction with the parking system that will alert drivers to exactly where they parked in case they forget.

(credit: CBS)

(credit: CBS)

“There was already a huge long line of people coming in and it’s just part of the overall, like, Beverly Hills-ification of this area. It’s a nightmare,” shopper Taylor Pardon told CBS4 on Tuesday morning.

LeMasters said people who weren’t mall shoppers were frequently parking in the available spots, and spaces were becoming harder and harder to come by.

(credit: CBS)

(credit: CBS)

“For a long time, we have been a free option for people and as a result, we have people who are parking in our lot and their cars stay there all day. They don’t come here to shop necessarily, those cars stay here all day and they go to work elsewhere and those are some of the most premium spots for our customers. We want to make sure the best parking stays available for our best customers,” said LeMasters.

(credit: CBS)

(credit: CBS)

A camera will take a picture of the car and license plate at the time of entry. The price for parking will be determined by the time stamp on that initial entry into the garage.

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