THE SQUEAKY WHEEL- Tied up: city vehicles get 23 parking spots
PHOTO BY PETER KLEEMAN
Many visitors to Charlottesville find it hard to park near the Downtown Mall. Although there are often street spaces open, some are reserved for exclusive use of judges, police, fire, sheriff or other city vehicles-– many 24 hours a day. I asked Jeannie Alexander, Charlottesville Traffic Engineer, how many there are downtown.
′′In the area bound by Water Street, Jefferson Street, 9th Street, and Old Preston,"she said, "of the 406 parking spaces– not including garages– there are 23 City spaces designated."
Court Square and the area around the Attention Home on Fourth Street NE have a significantly higher density of restricted spaces than immediately around the Downtown Mall.
Who uses these spaces?
I walk in this area of town daily and am curious about who uses these spaces and why so many need to be restricted 24-hours a day. Some don't even appear to be official vehicles, and often they don't display any permit or other identification.
How do these restricted spaces affect us all?
The estimated cost to provide each parking space in a garage structure is about $20,000. The city currently uses many spaces in the Market Street parking garage, but apparently there are many more city vehicles than that garage accommodates, and using street parking is less expensive and more convenient for the city– but not for others.
What choices exist?
We all need to reduce our automobile use and keep vehicles out of downtown when possible. I suggest the city reduce its current 600-vehicle fleet and number of restricted parking spaces to the extent possible. It's as important for us all to share parking as it is to share the road.