Many streets of King William are used during the week by downtown commuters looking for free parking. However, nowhere is the problem worse than on Arsenal Street and City Street next to H-E-B’s headquarters. Despite H-E-B discouraging its employees and vendors from parking on these residential streets, many of them continue to do so. In addition, employees of other nearby businesses and city offices also park on Arsenal and City during the day.
With the impending closure of S. Main Avenue, the Center City Development Office (CCDO) conducted a two-day traffic study of S. Main, S. Flores and Arsenal. The CCDO reported that, according to their study, the closure of S. Main will result in less commuter traffic on Arsenal. Paradoxically, however, the CCDO believes that the commuter parking situation on Arsenal will worsen. Because of this, the CCDO is proposing a year-long pilot Residential Permit Parking (RPP) Program for the residents of Arsenal as well as a portion of City Street.
Quick facts about the residential pilot parking program:
- Annual cost: $10 per permit
- 4 permits allowed per address
- Up to 20 guest passes allowed per day (at additional cost)
- Parking space not assigned or guaranteed with permit
- Permit parking effective Monday-Friday, 7 a.m. – 7 p.m.
The pilot RPP program must first be approved by City Council. If it is approved and proves successful, the program could be extended to other areas. For this to occur, first a petition for the RPP must be filed with 60% of the adjacent properties supporting the designation. Once support for the RPP is established through the petition, the City will conduct an on-street parking survey to determine whether a commuter parking problem exists. Should the City find a problem, the City Council will have the opportunity to adopt the new RPP zone.
Before signing an RPP petition, consider some of the consequences that could result from establishing an RPP zone on your street. For example:
- Do you have unexpected visitors coming by your home during the week? How would the RPP affect them?
- Are you willing to purchase guest passes in advance for service people or guests arriving before 7 p.m.?
- Lori Houston, the director of the CCDO, says that the annual cost will likely increase if the City must deal with multiple parking violations in an RPP zone. How much are you willing to spend to park on your own street?
- Do you have neighbors that might not be able to afford the program?
- Are there local businesses around you that might be affected? Where would their customers and employees park?
- RPP zones do not solve a city’s parking problems but instead push them out to surrounding streets, causing a snowball effect. If your street becomes an RPP zone, how will it affect your neighbors on surrounding streets?
It is important that we take into account all of these considerations so that we can make the right decision for our community.
- Charlotte Luongo