Anyone well versed in navigating the virtual world will tell you to never read the comments but that’s hard to do when you’re invested in the story. The Roanoke Times Article posted Friday and titled “Roanoke’s downtown pay-for-street-parking pilot program starts Monday” and The City of Roanoke Communications Facebook post about the city’s new pilot parking meter program garnered responses like this from a few people.
These weren’t the only negative comments and I’m not criticizing people who are concerned but I believe this reaction is based on misinformation. Before any more of us get to the “never going downtown” level I wanted to make a few things clear. It’s important to me and to our restaurants and shops that the correct information gets out.
THE FIRST HOUR IS FREE
It’s understandable that a lot of people aren’t hearing those words first but they’re true. This is a parking meter program but the city understands the need to keep free street parking so people can come downtown, park, and enjoy the restaurants and shops that make Roanoke a great destination. Which brings me to my second point…
THIS SHOULD OPEN MORE PARKING
Anyone who works downtown can tell you they’ve spent time in on-street parking during peak hours. It’s handy to park close to the office, restaurant, or shop where you work. We’ve all done it. But that’s the exact problem these meters aim to clear up. If one employee parks on the street and moves every hour for the 9 hours of 1 hour parking they’re taking up spots for 9 other people who could have parked closer to their destination. I can tell you from observation that the majority of the spots around the market building have been taken up by employees of various businesses around us. This should no longer be the case.
YOU CAN NOW LEGALLY PARK LONGER
Parking is free for 1 hour (I may have already said that) but you can also park for 2 or 3 hours. It goes like this.
» first hour = FREE
» 2nd hour = $1
» 3rd hour = $3
Which means you can now enjoy a lunch that runs over without worrying about a $25 parking ticket…if you simply pay $1 through the smart meter or the phone app for the second hour.
Now, please keep two things in mind; you still have to enter your license plate even if you’re parking for the free hour, and this is a trial. The city is asking for feedback and we hope you’ll give it. But we also hope you’ll give it a chance now that you know the facts. Free parking before is free parking now.
Other Roanoke parking resources:
Market Building Foundation Inc.