City leaders considering proposal to extend parking meter hours in Five Points

The new proposal would extend enforcement hours from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. each day

COLUMBIA, S.C. (WOLO) —If you’re heading down to Five Points in a month, you could be paying more money in the meter.

The City of Columbia is considering a proposal that would extend enforcement of parking meters for two more hours, stretching from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. each day.

Some members of the City Council say this idea came from the Five Points Association to free up more parking spaces for customers visiting local businesses.

With other cities implementing similar ideas, some city leaders say this is one way to make Five Points more friendly for business.

“Street parking is supposed to be turned over. It’s supposed to be available for customers coming in to patronize the retail establishments. Extended hours of parking meters is one way to make street parking more available to people patronizing our merchants,” said Howard Duvall of the Columbia City Council.

Even though city leaders say extending the hours is not intended to be a cash grab, some people say they are not thrilled to feed more money into the meters.

“I don’t think that’s the right move to make especially for college kids down here. Parking is already a pain, especially when trying to pay for your meter, but then paying the ticket on top of that,” said Hunter Ray of Columbia.

Some say the extra enforcement time will not change parking habits, especially in Five Points.

“We always grumble in the beginning and then make the adjustments and that’s the reason why they always get away with the fee hike,” said Michael Thomas of Columbia.

Some who work in Five Points believe nothing will change, even if some spots open up.

“I think, especially late at night, parking’s too much of an issue, but I don’t think those two extra hours are going to do terribly much,” said Matt Cook, a delivery driver with Pita Pit in Five Points.

Councilman Duvall says the city has enough resources to enforce these changes, and that employees could park in a new long-term lot on Devine Street. He says this new proposal will be crucial towards clearing the way for a more business-friendly atmosphere.

“What we’re trying to do is use the parking spaces we have more efficiently,” Duvall said.

Duvall says the new proposal could take effect in about a month. If it’s successful in Five Points, it might be implemented in other entertainment districts like The Vista and Main Street.

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