Downtown Lynchburg Parking Study Recommendations

Lynchburg, VA - Could downtown Lynchburg soon see a change when it comes to parking? It is definitely a possibility.

The city has moved forward with another parking study, this one looks at the need for additional parking spots. It all goes back to October of 2011 when the Central Virginia Criminal Justice Academy requested that the Parking Authority consider sharing the cost to build a downtown parking deck.

Desman Associates conducted the feasibility study and presented it to council at 3:00 p.m. Tuesday. One recommendation that is raising a lot of eyebrows is adding metered parking in select areas.

No matter how you look at it, one or two hours does not seem to be enough time for most.

"What are we supposed to do? We have to be here eight hours. All the parking is either one or two hours," said White Hart Cafe employee Matthew Chauta.

"Just as you're in the middle of being the most productive, it's time to go move the car again. So you have to stop what you're doing, you have to go move your car," said Lynchburg resident Mike Troxel.

That is how downtown's system currently works. Troxel frequents the area for work and says he has never finished in that amount of time.

"If you want downtown businesses to thrive then stop basically punishing people for coming down here and supporting them," said Troxel.

The City of Lynchburg is considering new information in the form of a recommendation. Part of it would consider creating a pilot program with parking meters along downtown streets.

The idea is something White Hart employees say would be bad for business.

"Business downtown already struggles and parking is already scarce and now people are not only going to be worried about can I find a parking spot, but do I have the change, do I have the money to pay for a parking spot," said Chauta.

According to council's agenda, the cost to install single space street meters would cost the city approximately $1,200,000.

"It's not a good situation," said Chauta.

Eight recommendations came out of Tuesday's presentation. Some key points besides metered parking include:

1. Creating a parking enterprise fund

2. Terminating the Holiday Inn Deck lease and taking operational responsibility.

3. Increasing monthly permit holder rates by $10 in Mid Town and Clay Street decks, $5 in City surface lots and increase all resident monthly permits by $5 per month.

Keep in mind these are only recommendations.

No action was taken at Tuesday afternoon's meeting.