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Knoxville seeks study for more available parking downtown

The consulting group that the city is bringing in has helped growing cities across the country deal with parking needs.

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — The Knoxville City Council approved funding of $87,000 for a study that's focused on parking in downtown Knoxville.

"We're going to look at structures we already have available and listen to their recommendations moving forward," said Knoxville Mayor Indya Kincannon. 

A big part of the study is looking into future parking needs as the city continues to grow in population and more development comes, like the downtown stadium, which is set to open in early 2025.

"We do expect that the stadium will provide further investment to the east side of town, which is a good thing because that part of town hasn't seen a lot of investment. So we want to make sure mobility, like parking for cars is a part of that," said Kincannon. 

Ryan Mcelveen owns Corks Wine and Spirits in Old City and says that he's seen fewer spots available downtown in recent years.

"Knoxville is growing, so you have more tourism, more people wanting to be in the Old City but the parking hasn't caught up to it yet," said Mcelveen. 

When lots fill up, Ryan has seen people take some unconventional parking strategies, like choosing to park on the railroad tracks.

"The railroad had to come tow people and put up barricades to stop people from parking there, but that shows how desperate people are for parking on the weekends," said Mcelveen. 

Ryan is hopeful the new study will result in some relief to the streets.

"The parking situation does inhibit people from wanting to be in the Old City and downtown but if there was a solution to it, I believe you'd see more people want to be, shop and do business downtown," said Mcelveen. 

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