New paid parking lots will be headed to downtown Lynchburg


LYNCHBURG, Va. (WSET) -- Be prepared to spend a little more when you park in Downtown Lynchburg.

The Parking Authority wants to create paid parking for several popular lots.

They say with the growing popularity of the area, people take advantage of the free parking.

There's no need to panic yet, as the changes won't happen until at least the new fiscal year at the beginning of July.

The plan is to pave 3 lots in the upcoming fiscal year and a fourth next year.

After the paving, the city will make the spots paid parking.

"It's kind of like the Wild West right now," John Seinar said. "Everybody parks everywhere."

Right now the lots by Amazement Square, the Depot Grille and the Water Dog are all free.

"It's an awesome problem to have," Seinar said.

But the Lynchburg parking authority said people park in these spots all day and leave no openings for people looking to patronize those businesses.

So to fix the problem, they will start to charge for spaces, which is something downtown patron Bill West is OK with.

"If it's a small fee, and they're going to use the money to enhance the area around it I'm all for it," West said.

"Anytime you have a parking problem that's a good thing because that means people want to be here," David Malewitz, parking manager for the city, said.

Once the new fiscal year starts, Malewitz said they will spend about $105,000 to pave those three lots and another $34,000 on the machines for paid parking.

The cost will be $.25 for the first hour, and $1 for each additional hour, with a $5 maximum for the day.

It will be enforced Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Some people who park in this area to use the trails aren't too happy.

"I just think if the fees were too large, you would lose people on the trail," West said.

The construction will begin as soon as council approves the spending, and will close the lots for a few days.

The paid parking will go into effect January 1, but could be sooner.

Future plans are to pave the lot on the other end of Jefferson Street and make it paid parking in the next couple years.

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