Campus & Community / Magazine Feature

Some drivers may be green with (parking) envy

parking poster

Twelve parking spots in the E garage are designated for environmentally friendly vehicles.

Move that Suburban over. There’s no parking here for that Hummer.

The University of Denver begins a pilot program today designating 12 premium parking spots in the E parking garage (on High Street next to Nagel Hall) as parking for environmentally friendly vehicles only. The vehicles allowed to park there must be certified “green” by the group Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) — the same organization that rates buildings for environmental certification.

“What we hope is this encourages the use of energy efficient and LEED endorsed vehicles by offering what we think of as the premium parking places — the spots that fill up first every morning,” says Parking Services Manager Buddy Knox.

The designation should work in a few ways, Knox says. First, it rewards commuters who purchased cars with the environment in mind. Second, it can serve as a reminder to those who aren’t driving fuel-efficient cars that when it comes time to get a new vehicle, DU encourages motorists to think of the environment when they buy. And finally, since the garage serves Nagel Hall residents, it delivers LEED certification points that helped the new residence hall earn a LEED gold award.

Drivers who use the E lot and drive a qualifying vehicle can register at Parking Services and Transportation, where they’ll get a “DUGreen” sticker for their rear window. Once affixed, the sticker allows them to park in the reserved spots. The sticker is free, but those who park in the designated spots without a sticker face a $30 parking ticket.

Knox says that while the program goes into effect Dec. 24, enforcement officers will issue warnings to violators until Jan. 12. In addition to signs, a banner and warning flyers, Knox says everyone who parks in the E lot will get an e-mail explaining the program.

The list of approved vehicles is available at Parking Services and Transportation and is also online. The list is surprising both for the variety of vehicles that are on it and for those that aren’t. Someone who considers Subaru to be a “green” minded company might expect a few models to be on the list. They aren’t. But the list does include a number of inexpensive models, such as the Honda Civic, Chevrolet Aveo, and models by Hyundai and Kia. There’s even a Ford Ranger pickup truck (the electric motor version).

The program is just a pilot to see if drivers respond. If it’s successful, the program could be expanded to parking at the new College of Education building and possibly other lots, Knox says.

“If we can change some behaviors, that would be a good thing,” Knox says. “It’s just an inexpensive way that we can make a difference.”

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