The city of Fredericksburg is making new changes to the Parking Action Plan because of the existing challenges for locals parking downtown. These changes include a two-hour restriction for cars parked along the 500 to 600 blocks of William Street. This policy will replace the old unlimited parking limit to hopefully allow for more free spaces throughout the day.
According to the Fredericksburg Free Lance Star many changes have been made to parking in the city of Fredericksburg recently, including the decision for on-street paid parking and a parking garage surrounding the campus area. Despite the fact that these changes were announced on Aug. 8, many students are still unaware.
Students shared mixed feelings about the changes. Some said that they are uncertain if the new two-hour parking will deter them from driving or not. A few voiced optimism about the new policy.
“It will help because parking is already hard enough as it is,” said Bethany Johansen, a senior English major. The city council hopes that the time limit will help more people find parking spots.
Sam Kurth, a junior communications major, however, does not think that this new policy will influence whether college students choose to park downtown or not, because she believes that the majority of students currently choose to walk.
“It is not as good as free parking, but it is good for tourists who don’t stay long,” Virginia Cline, a junior Cyber-Security major said.
Other students feel that it is unfair that they have to pay for parking downtown, as well as on campus.
“[It is going to put a] damper on college students parking downtown,” said Katie Goodwin. “It will be hard to pay for both campus and city parking.”
The next step is to add parking meters to the downtown area which will be effective by October 2018. The parking garage is set to be completed around the same time that the parking meters are added. The garage will have over one hundred free spots for parking, with more opening on the weekends.
Some students feel that while a parking garage will be beneficial to the parking situation, it may take away from the look of downtown Fredericksburg.
“[This will be] helpful,” said Johansen. “Not aesthetically pleasing, but necessary.”
One last change that the city council hopes to implement is to eliminate the “No UMW Parking” signs that are along the side of College Avenue where UMW students are not allowed to park. These signs will be replaced with two-hour parking signs.
While some students believe that this is better than not being able to find parking downtown, there is also the thought that this situation is unfair for those who already pay for a parking pass on campus. However, it will benefit students who do not have parking decals or passes.
“This is a good idea for college students because now a UMW student can park in those areas without getting a ticket right away,” said Connor McWhirt, a junior geography major. “They can now park near campus for free but they just have to be mindful of how long their car will be there. This makes it seem like the best of both worlds, we may not have unlimited parking, but at least we have a little bit of it.”