Johnson City Mayor addresses downtown parking concerns

JOHNSON CITY, TN (WJHL) – Last year, more than a half dozen new businesses opened in downtown Johnson City. But some say progress comes at a price and, in the downtown area, that price is limited parking.

For some parking in downtown Johnson City can be a nightmare. Just ask Anthony Johnson, who works downtown.

“If your going to find parking, you def[initely] have to come early,” Anthony Johnson said, “I usually get here around 8:00 in the morning and find one or two spots available due to the business and growing traffic.”

He isn’t the only one with parking concerns.

“We could use a little bit more parking,” Maria Dominguez said.

At busy times, parking spaces are hard to find in downtown Johnson City. The city’s mayor says he and other city leaders are looking into parking concerns.

“What we are going to address is: ‘Is there really a parking problem?’; Or do we need to direct people to where that available parking is,” Johnson City David Tomita said.

Mayor Tomita says there is parking in downtown, including 100 spaces at the Northeast State parking garage. But the city plans to conduct a study to see if more spots are needed.

“We know where the spaces are. We know when the heavy times are. We should be able to come down and look at the utilization [and] what is available,” Tomita said.

It is something businesses like Wild Wing Cafe would appreciate. Especially, on busy weekends like this past Saturday.

“We saw a lot of the side streets being utilized for parking, which it could create some hazards,” Louie Trivette of Wild Wing Cafe said.

A parking study was conducted in Johnson City two years ago.

As a result of the study, the city took action add two-hour parking limits to the Tipton Street Parking Lot.

“The study found that certain areas of downtown could allow more turnover in parking spaces, which will help visitors to downtown more easily find a parking space, particularly during business hours,” said Development Coordinator Steve Neilson in July 2015.

In addition, a downtown parking map was created to show unlimited and two-hour parking in the downtown area.

Downtown Johnson City Parking Map (Source: City of Johnson City)
Downtown Johnson City Parking Map (Source: City of Johnson City)

The parking study also recommended police enforce the two-hour parking limits.

In the meantime, Mayor Tomita wants to better market existing parking so people like Anthony Johnson know where to go.

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