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Study: Parking woes a reality in downtown Florence and UNA campus

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FLORENCE, Ala. – The good news, parking spaces are full. The bad news, parking spaces are full.

The city of Florence and the University of North Alabama are feeling the pinch with students and consumers vying for coveted parking spaces around downtown.  It’s actually the topic of an ongoing study.

“I think that’s what drives home the importance of sharing this study with the university, because the problems exist with both entities and so will the opportunities,” explained Florence Planning Director Melissa Bailey.

Between the hours of 10 a.m. and 2 p.m., a six-block area around Court and Seminary Streets are at 100% occupancy, while on campus the rate comes in at 97%. The study found this to be the peak time for parking demand.

Bailey said it’s not an easy problem to solve, but one that needs immediate attention.

“Where do we need additional supply, and where do we need to be more creative about our solution? The same goes for campus,” said Bailey.

University leaders have committed to creating more than 400 new campus parking spaces this year.  According to the study, they need 700 to accommodate full-time students right now.

Bailey said the city is looking at converting parallel parking spots into diagonal parking to gain a few hundred spaces.

A 60-day time frame has been established to finish the study and get the final numbers in. Florence leaders are also asking for an implementation piece to the study so they can take on the parking issues they face.