Opinion: Letter to the Editor: The Issue? Parking

Opinion: Letter to the Editor: The Issue? Parking

Let’s fix the problems with parking in the Upper King Street area. There are too many projects going on at one time. With the redevelopment of the King Street Metro lot, we have lost 35 parking spaces. Not only the parking in the lot, but now they have the buses loading and unloading on King Street and Diagonal Road which also takes away at least 20 more spaces. Harvard Street has lost at least five spaces due to the new hotel. The residents pay to park in front or near their homes while others, tourists, employees of the businesses and others that bring their vehicles into the city grab whatever spaces are open leaving residents to fend for themselves. The people that come in are from other jurisdictions and rather than park at a meter or seek a garage, they grab the free parking.

There will also be condominiums coming at the end of Harvard Street which will cause more construction and we will lose more spaces. The construction vehicles stage on Harvard, King, and Cameron streets. The residents move their vehicles at risk of losing the spaces.

The new hotel will have a 90-seat restaurant with no parking available for their customers, they are not providing parking for their employees, and only 55 parking spaces for their visitors. With 124 rooms one can believe 55 spaces will not be enough.

The city's parking enforcement is not fully staffed to handle tracking these streets with consistency. If they were, they would certainly gain revenue. Even if a resident calls to say people have been parking for more than the allotted time of 2-3 hours, when parking enforcement comes through they mark the vehicle and give them another 2-3 hours so basically they can stay in the space all day.

Luckily the First Night Celebration was not as busy as usual due to the weather, but even with the parking lot by the swimming pool it becomes overcrowded, leaving all to circle continuously. The parking lot used to be open to everyone after school hours including summer; when the new Jefferson Houston school was built, that changed. We are no longer allowed to park there, and the events when advertised to the public do not let people know there is a parking lot there.

This is a problem that is ongoing and City Council needs to address this problem.

The thought that everyone that comes to our city will come on public transportation is not right as they come from further away and need their vehicles. With the continuous growth, we are losing more parking. The council thinks people will stop driving since there is a "free" trolley and the Metro and buses. All the trolley has done is to slow down traffic along King Street. It's time to start charging for the trolley, even a nominal fee since Metro and the buses continue to raise their rates. With the new Metro stop coming to Potomac Yard, who is expected to pay for this? It’s we the people who already pay high taxes for our property and vehicles.

In conclusion with the beginning of the new year and four new council members all these issues will be dropped in their laps. We hope they can figure this one out because it is a very big problem.

Jim Melton

Bea Porter