ATHENS, Ala. – Downtown Athens has been in transition since last summer when crews began working on a project to improve walkability and increase safety for pedestrians. Even though construction is complete, the square is experiencing some bumps in the road when it comes to parking.
In many areas of downtown, there are time limits for street parking, but people can park as long as they want at storefronts on all four sides of the courthouse.
“It’s kind of been an issue for some of us, to notice that some people will park their car and sit all day in one spot for as long as they can,” said Atlee Hanks, a Village Pizza employee.
The spots used to have a three-hour limit, but those signs were taken down during the construction project.
Employees at shops on the square say they fear that if there isn’t parking right in front of a store, customers might decide to take their business elsewhere.
“They’re like, ‘eh oh well, we’ll move onto the next place,'” Hanks said.
Director of Athens Main Street, Tere Richardson, says there is plenty of parking. According to the city’s website, there are more than one thousand parking spots in all of downtown.
Some of those spots can be found in parking lots less than a block from the square that allows ten-hour parking. Richardson hopes to alleviate parking issues by installing signs on the square pointing customers to these other lots.
A representative with the city of Athens says the three-hour parking signs will be reinstalled along the square. They should be up within the next two weeks.