Denver, CO

Opinion: Street sweeping tickets are a racket

David Heitz
Photo byCity and County of Denver

The collective groan coming from Denver this week is because street-sweeping has returned.

And so have the pricey tickets. It will cost you $50 if you’re parked in a street sweeping zone beginning Saturday, April 1. The street sweeping schedule is online. Residents also can sign up for text message and/or email reminders about moving their car on street sweeping day.

“Between April and November, residential streets in Denver are swept once per month where posted (not every block has restrictions), and residents are advised to pay attention to the red and white signs posted on their block for street sweeping parking restrictions so Public Works can provide the best street sweeping service possible,” the City and County of Denver explains on its website. “Residents can now sign up for street sweeping reminders through pocketgov, which offers user-friendly access to city services via mobile device or a home computer. After creating a simple user profile and including contact information, residents can receive email and/or text notifications.”

If you live on a street sweeping route in Denver, I’d sign up for the notifications right away.

My street sweeping nightmare

For almost three years I lived the nightmare of having to park in a street-sweeping district. I lived in the Belmont Heights area of Long Beach, Calif. while working as executive news editor of the Long Beach Press-Telegram.

I remember when I moved from Long Beach to Detroit, I had to square away dozens of parking tickets that had piled up on my car through the years. I owed a fortune. I spent half a day at the DMV taking care of it, as it involved a lot of paperwork.

My problem was that I got off work at 1 a.m., and all the legal spots would be taken. Many nights, I just figured paying the fine was worth it. I just wanted to park and get home. If I set an alarm to get up and move the car before the street sweepers come, I’d only get a few hours of sleep.

Denver council ridiculed for tickets

Robert Bailey is a regular speaker during the general public comment sessions at the City Council meetings. On Monday, he chided the council about the tickets. “Unfortunately, I need to hammer on this council a little bit more,” he said. “Feeding on the poor is such a bigger problem than a few leaves under a car.”

Bailey argued that the street sweeping tickets target the poor, who don’t have a garage, a driveway, or a parking lot behind their buildings. He said the tickets end up going to young people and the elderly. “A lot of these people have serious financial problems and we need to leave them alone,” Bailey said.

I agree.

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I've been in the news business 35 years, spending much of my career in editing roles at local newspapers in Los Angeles, Detroit, and the Quad-Cities of Illinois and Iowa. Upon moving to Denver in 2018, I began experiencing severe mental illness due to several traumatic experiences. I became homeless on the street for about a year before spending time in the state mental hospital. I am living proof that people can rebound from mental illness with proper treatment, even after experiencing homelessness. I consider myself a lucky guy to live in a great place like Denver. I hope my writing reflects the passion I have for living here. You can email me news releases and story ideas at

Denver, CO

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