If you missed today’s story on parking in downtown Roanoke, click here to read it.
When I set out to write this story I wanted to find out exactly how much parking we have in downtown Roanoke and how we much we use it. I obtained occupancy data on the city garages and surface lots from PARK Roanoke, the city entity that oversees parking. On street parking utilization isn’t tracked.
What I found is that we have a lot of parking and we don’t come close to using all of it. There are nearly 8,000 parking spaces downtown. That includes city owned garages and surface lots, free on street parking, and spaces in some 30 public lots owned by private businesses.
Of course, not all of the garages are convenient to where you’re going. That explains the low occupancy rates at the new Campbell Avenue garage across from the police department. (I suspect that when residents begin moving into the Lofts at West Station that garage will see more use.) And yes, most times you have to pay to park there. Roanoke’s all-day parking rate of $6 is among the cheapest in the country, according to a 2010 survey by the National Parking Association.
And sure, not all of the 664, free on street parking spaces are near the farmer’s market and the Roanoke City Market Building. But, as city manager Chris Morrill and several others pointed out, how far do you walk to get to your destination when you park at the mall? (The only difference is that you won’t get a parking ticket at the mall.)
So if you’re willing to pay and/or walk, there is plenty of parking.
There’s much more information in the story, including the points below about free and discounted parking.
- Free and discounted parking in Roanoke
- Free parking at all city parking locations on Sundays
- Free parking Saturdays at all city locations until 4 p.m.
- Free parking after 5 p.m. at the Elmwood Park Garage, Williamson Road lot, Elmwood Park lot and Warehouse Row lot
- Free parking for SmartWay riders Monday through Friday at the Gainsboro Garage
- Free parking in the 664 on-street, timed parking spaces
- $1 “lunch special” parking in the Market Lot from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
- 50 percent discount at the Gainsboro Garage and Higher Education lots for students enrolled in classes at the Higher Education Center