Free 1 Hour Parking and Other Good News

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.


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…


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.


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:

How the meters work
Parking in Roanoke
Free Parking in Roanoke

Elliot Broyles
Executive Director
Market Building Foundation Inc.

Check out our restaurants for lunch!

Comments 5

  1. Currently, free on-street parking is unlimited after 5pm. Will that continue or will the meters have to be “fed” after 5pm if you intend to park for more than 1 hour?

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  2. first hr may appear free but the 3rd hr your paying for the first hr. Your forsure not getting nothing done in no hr and they know that.

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      Thanks for the comment Sherman. You may not know that it was only an hour free before this pilot program anyway. So you’d have to move your car after an hour. If you’re planning on doing something that takes more than an hour you wouldn’t park in one hour parking…unless you wanted a ticket.

  3. I think it’s a great program and it’s already helping. Patrons don’t realize that most of the parking was being used by employees who would just go move their car every hour even when they have designated parking elsewhere. That may still be happening though unless there is a way to enforce making people enter their plates.

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