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Parking rules change along S. Gay Street

1:13 AM, Feb 2, 2013   |    comments
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New parking hours along South Gay Street will take effect this month.

These new hours will apply to public on-street parking spaces between Summit Hill Drive and the Gay Street Bridge in downtown Knoxville.

The maximum parking time will be increased from one hour to two hours, but police will now enforce those limits between 6 a.m. and midnight seven days a week.

Enforcement for these new hours will not start until Feb. 25., when the city will start issuing warnings to violators.

They won't issue citations or tow cars until March 11. 

Knoxville's Chief Operating Officer Eddie Mannis says people will notice a much less cluttered downtown landscape.

He say crews took down around one hundred signs while putting up the new ones.

But he says the goal is to help downtown businesses.

"The key was we heard a lot from downtown businesses that there was not enough turnover on Gay Street," says Mannis.
"You would have some people on Gay Street that would [park] for four, six, ten hours."

They include, says Mannis, some who live in the downtown area and would park their cars on the street all weekend.

He says the new hours are intended to ensure better turnover of parking spaces during high-demand times.

But some downtown business owners seem skeptical about the impact.

Downtown Grill and Brewery co-manager Don Goss says extending the maximum parking time from one to two hours during the regular 9-5 weekday may be helpful.

But he says he thinks it's a mistake to extend enforcement to the weekends.

"It's a Saturday afternoon, you're a family of four, you want to come down, go shopping, go ice skating. You're going to be able to do that in two hours?" asks Goss skeptically.

He says he already hears enough from customers about the limitations of downtown parking.

"You don't have turnover if you don't have people coming down. That's the worry I have," says Goss.

The owner of Suttree's High Gravity Tavern on Gay Street says most of his customers either live downtown or use parking garages.

Morelock Music says they don't expect a dramatic impact on customers.

The enforced hours will be as follows:

  • Between 6 a.m. and midnight (seven days a week) parking will be limited to a maximum of two hours.
  • Warnings will be issued for the first two weeks after Feb. 25.
  • Full enforcement will begin March 11, with citations and towing.

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