If you'd like to head downtown for lunch today but resist because you fear you won't find convenient parking, one community is working to change that.
The town of Blacksburg just completed a parking study. It found during peak hours, lunch and dinner time, the spaces are full. That wasn't surprising for town officials but what they say they did find surprising is the spaces were being used for extended periods of time and not turning over. It suggests the people the town and the people businesses want to drive downtown aren't the ones taking up the spaces. Instead, it's suspected students at nearby Virginia Tech or downtown employees are staying in the spaces most convenient to shops and restaurants. "Whether you're shopping or eating, you're going to the dentist office or whatever the case may be," said Mark Hanratty. "We want those citizens to be able to come to downtown and fins accessible parking that's fairly convenient."
The town is now working short, medium and long term changes to help improve turnover and to improve parking overall. Some of the changes including rate increases, new occupancy limits and digital pay stations and smart meters. Changes will begin this summer with new lines marked on spaces and adding more handicapped spots.