Shockoe Bottom business owners outraged after pay to park stations show up in parts of the area

Richmond

RICHMOND, Va (WRIC) – Some Shockoe Bottom business owners are outraged after they’ve seen new parking pay stations popping up in front of their businesses.

The Shockoe Alliance requested the stations be put in as a part of a pilot program after they noticed limited parking spaces was a big issue for customers visiting the area.

The new parking meters were activated Monday morning, according to Kim Chen, senior manager with Economic Development and Planning with the City of Richmond. Chen said the Shockoe Alliance wanted to prevent residents and workers from taking up spaces all day. She said those spaces don’t turn over frequently enough for customers to utilize them.

8News spoke with business owners along North 18th Street Monday who said they’re not sure taking away free parking will benefit anyone.

Business owners Kelvin Allen, owner of Dave’s Barber Shop, and Evan Matthews, owner of Kulture, said they weren’t notified the parking meters would be a new addition to their block, which previously allowed free parking.

“They just out of the blue just came up and put the meters on,” Allen said.

Matthews told 8News Monday he understands people parking in the spaces all day being an issue but that’s what he said enforcement is there for. He said now people have to pay for any length of parking and don’t get the two hours free.

“It’s just a huge inconvenience,” Matthews said.

Chen said the Shockoe Alliance hopes the change brings more customers, but Allen and Matthews don’t believe it will.

“Parking has been a long-time issue just because so many people are starting to come down into the area,” Allen told 8News Monday.

Now, Matthews asks what will residents and employees or business owners like him do if there’s no spaces?

In addition, he said residents and workers will have to make sure they’re consistently feeding the meters, just like the customers visiting.

“Now that the Bottom is actually starting to flourish again, they want people to pay,” Matthews said.

The program will last 90 days and Chen said they will reassess to see if they keep the meters in or go back to free parking.

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