Where is the Free Parking Downtown?


By Ashley Thompson

Plenty of new development is underway downtown and as Montgomery continues to revitalize, many are concerned that there's not enough parking.

New retail, businesses and apartments will soon make downtown Montgomery home. And with the new development, may come parking problems.

Though some Montgomery residents, like Jessica Smith, say the city already doesn't have enough free parking to begin with.

"I feel like we need to have more free parking, instead of just like paying for parking," she says.

Some tourists agree. Josh Vavasas is in town from Georgia and tells us he hasn't had the best luck with finding spots to park.

"There's no where to park," he says. "There's no information on where to park and things like that. There's a gas station down the road. I guess you could park there."

But is it true that there's no where to park? Steve Jones with the Mayor's Office says no.

"We have about 1850 spaces in a half mile radius of downtown and people don't realize that they can use the deck."

In fact, the city owns five parking decks, all of which are free after 6 and monitored by security. Metered spots are free after 5. Melanie Golson is the Outreach Coordinator for the Department of Development and says there's not a parking problem, there's a walking problem.

"Most people have that instant gratification mentality and they want to park right at the door, go in and out," she says. "And they don't realize that a short walk in only just a minute more of their time."

Could she be right? We caught Jessica coming out of Wintzel's Oyster House and asked where she parked.

"Like half a block down that way just to walk and just like really enjoy the alley," she says. "I think that's ridiculous though."

And as more residential units come downtown, Golson says the city will be prepared.

"All of the developers are already partnering with the city, that we will lease them or provide them a set number of spaces for their residents."

All of the city's parking decks have a big blue peace sign. Each deck is about one or two dollars per hour and has a six dollar max per day.

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