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'Give Me Toilet Paper Before Parking Tickets': Denver Residents Upset Over Parking Enforcement During Coronavirus Pandemic

DENVER (CBS4)- Like so many other workers during the coronavirus pandemic, Carolyn Helsel was told late last week by her employer that she needed to immediately start working from home.

Helsel, 28, a home health speech language pathologist based in Denver, did so beginning Saturday and heeded warnings from city officials to stay home and maintain social distancing during the COVID-19 crisis.

RELATED: Latest Updates On The Coronavirus Outbreak In Colorado

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So she was surprised Monday morning to find a $25 ticket on her car for non-payment of a parking meter near her apartment building at 9th and Sherman.

"Paying a meter wasn't on my mind at all yesterday," said Helsel, speaking to CBS4 Tuesday afternoon.

After being inundated with messaging about staying home, Helsel felt that issuing parking tickets sent a mixed message.

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"On one hand I'm being told to stay in my apartment, and on the other hand I'm being told to go out and pay the meter. Honestly, its just hard to know what I'm being told to do right now by the City of Denver."

At 10:09 a.m. Tuesday, CBS4 began asking city officials about the issue. At 12:42 p.m. the city announced a number of temporary changes to Denver parking rules due to the coronavirus situation. Among the changes, as of 1 p.m. on March 17, parking meter enforcement is lifted until Thursday morning at 8 a.m., so meters are free, albeit for a short time.

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"I think you should give me toilet paper before a parking ticket," observed Helsel.

Here are the Denver parking changes effective March 17 at 1 p.m.:

For Meters:

  • Meter enforcement is suspended until Thursday, March 19 at 8 a.m. to recalibrate meters
  • Starting Thursday, people can pay to park at meters for up to ten hours between 8 a.m. and 6 p.m.
  • Parking is free at meters from 6 p.m. to 8 a.m.
  • Time limits are lifted

For Non- Metered Parking (where time limits are posted):

  • No changes to enforcement
  • Denver will continue to enforce posted time limits in non- metered areas to support the turnover of parking spaces and adjacent business activity

72 Hour Parking Rule:

  • On blocks free of posted time limits, you can park in one spot for more than 72 hours
  • On blocks with residential parking program restrictions, residents/visitors with valid permits can
  • Park their vehicle in one spot for more than 72 hours

City-managed Surface Parking Lots and Parking Garages Accessible to the general public:

  • No changes

LINK: Denver Parking Enforcement During COVID-19

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