August 17, 2010 -
The City of Knoxville will begin charging for parking in the Jackson Avenue Parking Lot beginning on or around September 10 - though parking will still be free there at night and on weekends.
The lot will be closed temporarily beginning September 1, for cleaning and re-striping and to allow the city to install parking equipment needed for the switch to paid parking. All vehicles must be removed from that lot by 7 a.m. on Sept. 1.
Currently the city offers free parking in the Jackson Avenue lot - which includes roughly 200 spaces - and has since it purchased the property last year in the midst of the Gay Street Streetscapes project.
The city will continue to offer free parking at the 200-space Old City Lot located nearby beneath the James White Parkway.
The new parking management policy is aimed at supporting businesses located on the 100 Block and North Gay Street areas by making sure there are spaces available for people patronizing those establishments during the day. There is concern that if the city doesn't charge for parking a growing number of the spaces will be used by downtown workers who park there throughout the day.
That would leave a limited number of spaces for customers and clients of businesses in the vicinity. The city had been asked by some residents and business owners in the 100 Block area about the issue.
"When the city was approached to create a management structure in the lot one of the things we heard repeatedly was that both businesses and residents are helped when there is consistent turnover and availability," said Hannah Parker, the city's policy analyst and downtown coordinator. "While we elected not to charge for parking throughout the Gay Street construction project, we are doing so now in an effort to continue to spur redevelopment along Jackson and Gay, which is quickly becoming one of the most important east/west corridors in downtown."
As part of the upcoming renovations the city will include a payment kiosk that accepts coins, bills and is capable of conducting secure credit card transactions.
The Public Building Authority and Republic Parking will manage the Jackson Avenue Parking Lot for the city and will offer paid daily and monthly parking.
Rates will be $1 an hour, for a maximum daily rate of $8, or monthly parking is available for $40. For more information on rates please contact Republic Parking at 865-524-0602 or PBA at 865-595-3350.