The City Market has announced its new paid parking policy.
Starting March 1, parking in the four lots surrounding the City Market will cost $1 per hour from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday. Parking in the Market Square will continue to be free, but the time limit will be reduced from three to two hours. Cars left for longer could be ticketed and towed by Premier Parking.
Weekend and evening parking will continue to be free in all City Market lots, and City Market tenants will get parking hangtags for employees.
Property manager Deb Churchill said the plan is a “good compromise” that will benefit City Market tenants and customers. She added that the City Market plans to get the word out through social media posts and flyers placed on cars.
Paid monthly parking will be provided on a limited basis to existing River Market businesses.
Churchill said the City Market has been considering a move to paid parking for about a year. In December, a plan was proposed to install meters and charge $3 for the first hour and $1 per hour afterward. Many tenants protested the plan, saying it would drive off short-term customers along with all-day parkers, including River Market residents and downtown workers who park in the City Market and ride the streetcar to work.
The final plan provides what many City Market tenants asked for — a grace period for customers who shop or dine at the market.
Danny Spini, who owns Global Produce in the City Market, said most of the tenants he’s spoken with approve of the plan, and like the idea of free parking on weekends. He added that it might take time for his customers to get used to parking in the central lot.
Spini said that eventually, the area will need more parking — perhaps in the form of a multi-tiered garage — to accommodate increasing density related to new apartment projects and the streetcar expansion.
“I think this works for now,” Spini said, “but we’re going to address this issue again in the future.”