Do you live downtown? Work downtown? Visit downtown? Ever park on Gay Street at all??? Then pay close attention.
No, your eyes are not deceiving you. That is one of the new signs that have gone up on Gay Street this week -- without any warning from the city, either, although they plan to send out a press release later today. And, yes, the city really is planning to start enforcing parking on Gay from 6 in the morning until midnight, even on weekends.
Let's repeat that: YOU CAN NOW GET A PARKING TICKET DOWNTOWN FROM 6 A.M. UNTIL MIDNIGHT EVERY SINGLE DAY OF THE WEEK. (Which, by the way, is even stricter than any neighborhood in which I have ever parked in New York City. I guess we are totally metropolitan now!)
Mayoral flack Jesse Mayshark says the city is involved in an ongoing effort to improve parking options downtown, which is why the change has been made. And unlike previous efforts to adjust Gay St. parking, it will now be consistent -- you can safely park for two hours on either side of the street. Mayshark says there will be no additional staff cost for enforcement, leaving one to wonder if the new parking regulations will continue to be enforced as laxly as the current ones.
In any case, police will not begin to issue actual citations until Mar. 11 (warning citations will start showing up after Feb. 25). So you've got a few weeks, Knoxville, to get used to the new turn of events and plan your parking accordingly.
And we'll update this with the official city response when it shows up in our inbox.
Update: Here's the official city press release.
NEW PARKING HOURS TO TAKE EFFECT THIS MONTH ON GAY STREETSigns are going up along South Gay Street in downtown Knoxville indicating new hours for public on-street parking spaces. Maximum parking time has been increased from one hour to two hours, between Summit Hill Drive and the Gay Street Bridge. The new hours are intended to ensure better turnover of parking spaces during high-demand times, providing more convenience for downtown visitors and businesses.But visitors who might notice the signs this weekend do not need to panic: Enforcement of the new hours will not begin until Feb. 25th.From Summit Hill Drive south to the Gay Street Bridge, the enforced hours will be as follows: Between 6 a.m. and midnight, seven days a week, parking will be limited to a maximum of two hours. Warnings will be issued for the first two weeks after Feb. 25th. Full enforcement will begin March 11th, with citations and towing.
We still don't see how any evenings (besides Friday and Saturday) can possibly be considered "high demand times" -- nor, for that matter, any day of the week between 6 a.m. and 8 a.m. Have you been downtown that early? NO ONE is on the streets. But whatever. We'll probably just be parking on side streets from here on out.
Update #2: In case you were wondering, we have official confirmation that this will not affect the paid, metered spots on the 100 Block, which will remain free after 6 p.m. ... for now, at least. Mayshark cautions, "That doesn't mean no changes ever ... But I'm told there's nothing planned at the moment."