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DENVER-High office vacancy rates, as well as more downtown workers taking light rail to work, led parking lot owners in downtown to drop their rates for the second consecutive year.

Overall, the average daily rate for public lots in Denver and surrounding areas is $5.83, a 6.7% drop from last year, according to a new report by Integra Realty Resources, an appraisal firm.

The last time rates were lower was in 1999, when they average $5.47 a day. Parking rates peaked in 2001 at $6.55 per day.

The core area of the central business district still continues to charge the highest daily rate at $10.44, according to Jim Burbach, director of Integra. The core area, in fact, saw the average rate rise by 0.88%.

The Denver Center for Performing Arts/Colorado Convention Center was the only other sector of downtown to see rates rise. Rates there increased by 1.5%.

In other sectors of the market: the federal government area dropped by 18.5%; Northeast fell by 14.7%; Uptown dropped by 12.9%; LoDo dropped by 4.8%; and state and local government fell by 0.9%.

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