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City reserves 11 downtown parking spaces for quick stops, errands
July 29, 2021

KNOXVILLE - Starting Monday, Aug. 2, the City will be converting 11 downtown on-street metered parking spaces at six locations from 2-hour to free 15-minute parking.

The “Downtown Stop-n-Go” designated areas are located at South Gay Street and Wall Avenue; South Gay and Union Avenue; the 700 block of South Gay; South Central Street and Willow Avenue; Union and Market Street; Clinch Avenue west of Market Street; and West Church Avenue and Walnut Street.

Motorists using the 15-minute spaces should activate their vehicle flashers when parking there. Public Building Authority parking enforcement officers will write citations if motorists violate the 15-minute maximum time that a vehicle may occupy one of the designated spaces or if the flashers are not activated.

“We want to make it easier for patrons of nearby businesses to run a quick errand – for example, restaurant customers picking up a to-go food order,” said Downtown Coordinator Rick Emmett. “But to be fair to the next customer, it’s critical that someone park briefly, run their errand and then free up the parking space.”

During the COVID-19 pandemic, City traffic engineers had bagged about 50 parking meters and installed temporary signs that designated spaces for pickups and deliveries close to the entrances of specific restaurants.

That temporary practice is ending, now that COVID-19 vaccinations are being administered, restaurants have resumed inside seating and more diners say they feel safe enjoying a traditional sit-down indoors meal.

The new 15-minute parking spaces are shared and not specifically designated to serve any individual businesses.

“Before the pandemic, there were only a few 15-minute spaces,” Emmett said. “Then, during COVID-19, we wanted to help businesses stay open, so we set aside more spaces for pickups and carry-outs.

“We learned a lot about where these spaces are most needed by restaurants with quick in-and-out customers, and where the traditional 2-hour parking spaces work better. So now, drawing from the data and recent experiences with 15-minute parking, we’ve strategically designated 11 spaces for free parking near clusters of restaurants and other businesses.”

Emmett noted that there are more than 10,500 public parking spaces in the downtown area. Visitors going to dinner and a movie, or attending a concert, for example, may want to consider parking in one of the City’s six garages, which offer $1-an-hour daytime rates and free parking on nights and weekends.

Click here for a map showing the locations of the 15-minute free parking spaces downtown.

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