Some changes are coming to Williamsburg’s downtown parking — and the city says the changes will make finding a parking spot easier.
The city is implementing recommendations from a parking study to ease the “perception” of a shortage of parking spots near popular destinations downtown, according to a City of Williamsburg news release.
The study found the city’s downtown “does not have a documentable parking shortage,” the release said.
However, the “perception” of a shortage is hurting area businesses, the city is implementing a stepped-plan to address “that perception” of the limited availability of parking spots, according to the release.
The study, conducted by Wayne, Penn. based Walker Parking Consultants, found that parking spots closest to Merchants Square are often “100 percent occupied” while spots one to two blocks away have “excess capacity.”
Currently, drivers must pay to park in some parking lots and the parking garage. That’s not expected to change in the first year of the project, but changes could come in the next three years if increased enforcement and other measures aren’t successful, the release said.
The first step of the plan is to install sensors on parking spots throughout the downtown area to gain more data on where residents and tourists park and for how long. The sensors would also be able to assist the city’s parking enforcement officers, according to the release.
The sensors and increased enforcement are expected to be rolled out by the end of June 2018, according to Assistant City Manager Andrew Trivette.
The second step would flip the current parking plan from charging money for inconvenient spots to charging money for convenient spots, while making less convenient spots free, the release said.
The third step would use data provided by the parking sensors to institute “dynamic pricing” of parking spots, according to the release.
The peak-hour pricing model could cause parking spots to become more expensive as demand for parking increases.
In the end, any changes in the structure of paying-to-park will be made by the City Council, the release said.
For more information on the city’s Downtown Parking Plan click here.