It’s hard to believe that free daytime parking next to downtown was still a thing, but that is now changing.
The area between Interstate 35 to Chicon Street and East 11th to Lady Bird Lake is now paid parking during daytime hours as well.
Saying goodbye to free parking is tough for Ayjah Williams, who works downtown.
“I don’t like that. All of downtown you have to pay. It’s kind of nice to be able to walk a little outside of downtown,” she says.
Starting this week, parking meters east of I-35 will begin charging from 8 a.m. through midnight.
Previously, the paid parking meters started charging at 6 p.m., leaving free daytime parking available.
“I’d rather park over here for free and know I can walk into downtown versus not knowing how long I’ll be driving around downtown, looking for parking spaces,” explains Williams.
District 3 Council Member Sabino “Pio” Renteria says the purpose of extending these hours is to increase parking availability during the day.
He says concerned business owners brought the parking situation to City Council’s attention when they noticed some drivers and construction workers camping out in the free parking all day.
“The community there decided they wanted to increase the fees, start charging for the morning, so we could have traffic move,” says Renteria.
The meters in this area are part of a Parking and Transportation Management District approved by City Council in 2014. More than half of the net parking fees collected are set aside for capital improvement projects to improve mobility within the district.
A Parking and Transportation Management District is an area that may include a mix of uses in which City Council finds that traffic flow on public streets needs a higher level of management than usual and determines that parking meters will help traffic flow goals.
This means that Williams will have to adjust her travel time to get to the office on time. “I probably will have to leave probably 30 minutes to an hour earlier than I already do just so I can find a spot downtown.”
The meters will be running Monday through Saturday. Sunday is still free.