Charlottesville Could See More Parking Meters Downtown
If Charlottesville City Council passes a resolution at its meeting Monday night, over 100 parking meters could be added to the downtown area.
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - Finding a free place to park in downtown Charlottesville may soon get a lot harder if Charlottesville City Council passes a resolution to add more than 100 parking meters. City leaders insist meters are a step in the right direction, but workers downtown don't agree.
The city is hoping to get downtown employees out of two hour spaces and into garages as part of a pilot program that Charlottesville City Council could set into action at a meeting Monday. If they sign off on it, the first wave of more than 150 spaces could soon come with a price tag.
Last year Charlottesville City Council asked anyone who frequents downtown to fill out an online survey. The results are in and the consultant hired by Charlottesville has a plan.
It calls for 157 new meters added to certain streets in the area near the downtown mall.
It would charge $2 an hour which could be paid in 15 minute, $0.50 increments. In the long run, $2 an hour, times 40 hours a week, times 52 weeks per year comes out to over $4,000.
"It's convenience for the consumer and it's also increasing the volume of consumer and customer for the businesses downtown," said Kathy Galvin, Charlottesville City Council member.
When the plan was shown to people who work downtown, though, they had different thoughts.
"I think it's kind of sad to the fact that we're some of the people who are kind of helping create revenue for this area and we're having to spend a lot of what we're making on parking," said Shannon O'Brien, who works at a waitress at the Nook.
The city says it needs to get downtown employees off the streets, and hopes people will turn to the Water Street and Market Street garages as parking options.
"Currently parking garages are viewed more as inconvenient and more expensive and the truth is they would be less expensive if we did enforce on-street parking," Galvin said.
Without a monthly pass for the Water Street Parking Garage, it actually would cost you the same to park there as on the street. It would cost a little more at the Market Street Garage.
Michael Rodi, Rapture's owner, argues that's too expensive for workers, unless the city hands out employee discounts. He says customers will also notice.
"Metered parking, I think, is just going to be even more reason for people to shop at Barracks Road, or Stonefield, or any of the other places," Rodi said.
The plans also call for incorporating technology, so visitors to downtown could "feed" meters from their smart phones, using credit cards.
If council approves the resolution Monday, it would start as a pilot program and would only affect areas closest to the Downtown Mall, but it could grow in the future.
There is no public hearing on the issue on Monday's agenda, but there is the typical period for public comment scheduled.
The meeting is scheduled for 7:00 p.m. in City Council chambers.