Councilors May Vote on Parking Meters for Downtown Charlottesville
The days of free street parking in parts of downtown Charlottesville may be coming to an end. Councilors are expected to vote on adding parking meters to several streets.
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - The Charlottesville City Council is scheduled to vote on a resolution that could mean the end of free street parking downtown.
Councilors could approve the resolution during their meeting Monday, April 4, but they want to make sure they hear from residents before moving forward too fast.
Charlottesville is hoping to get downtown employees out of free, two-hour on-street spaces and into parking garages.
Councilors were presented with the results of a parking study on October 1, 2015. The study found a total of 2,933 public parking spaces in the areas of downtown, West Main Street, and the University of Virginia.
The study also contained survey results from almost 700 people who come downtown:
- 87% typically drive downtown
- 75% typically or occasionally park along the street.
- 52% were generally dissatisfied with the current state of downtown parking.
The study also showed that demand has steadily increased while supply remained flat.
The resolution before the Charlottesville City Council recommends a six month pilot program designed by the consultant Nelson Nygaard Inc. The program includes 157 paid meters, where parking would cost $2 an hour, with the first 30 minutes free. Drivers will also have the option to pay 50 cents for 15 minutes of parking time.
Jessica Martin works off the Downtown Mall, and says she often spends time trying to find free street parking before work.
“The more impact you can get from people who it directly impacts the better. Especially folks that work downtown, shop downtown, local business owners,” she said.
“It'll kill a lot of business downtown. There are people right now that don't come downtown because it's difficult to park, it costs too much,” said Jehu Martin.
“I'm against it. I don't want to pay any more for parking than I already do,” Andrew Smith said.
Councilor Bob Fenwick says his top priority is making sure that the public has a say in the process.
“The question of whether we have paid parking meters or not, to me, is still an open question,” said the councilor.
Fenwick says that he may try to delay the vote until the city can hold a public hearing on the issue: “If I don't have my questions answered, then I will probably vote against it.”
As of late Monday afternoon, more than a 160 people signed an online petition asking The Charlottesville City Council to reconsider.
Only 12 people will be allowed to speak during the public comment period at the beginning of Monday’s meeting, though the floor is still open at the end of the meeting.
The Charlottesville City Council will be holding its meeting at 7 p.m. Monday, April 4, in Council Chambers at City Hall.