Possible solution to downtown Aiken parking problems

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News 12 at 6 o'clock, March 3, 2008

AIKEN, S.C. --- If you drive in Downtown Aiken, you know it can difficult to find a parking spot at times. But now, that could be changing. We're On Your Side with the new parking rules.

Some people like it, others don't. No matter what, there's now a whole new landscape for parking in Downtown Aiken.

Downtown Aiken on this Monday around lunchtime is completely packed on Laurens Street. No open parking spots. That's something Paulette Foreman deals with all the time.

"Lunch time and the holidays. You know, we love to shop during the holidays. I know, Valentines Day, that was just a no-no to come down here and find a parking spot," says Paulette.

Now, the city hoping to put a stop to the spot dilemma. Through all the signs right now around Laurens Street, another one is popping up. This one saying, Aiken 2-Hour Parking Zone.

The signs say it all. 2-hour parking on certain Downtown Aiken roadways between 9AM and 4PM Monday through Friday. But, just what roads are included in the parking zone?

Here's a list:
-Richland Avenue from Newberry to Pendleton on both sides
-Laurens Street from Barnwell to Park on both sides
-the spur of Hayne from Laurens to just past Pendleton
-the east side of Pendleton from Richland to Hayne
-the south side of Barnwell from Newberry to Laurens
-west side of Newberry from Richland to Park
-the north side of Park from Laurens to Chesterfield

On Richland and Laurens, the regulations include store-front and median parking. On all the other roads, it is just store-front parking that is under the new 2-hour rule.

"It's a baby thing, so it has to go," says Foreman. "Everybody has to want to participate and get it done."

"It is busy and we're getting larger," she adds. "You can't move these streets and you can't put any streets in here. So, we're going to have to learn how to work together."

If you don't work together -- that is, by staying longer than 2 hours -- the city will ticket you 10 dollars per offense. You can be ticketed more than once a day. There will be a grace period added to the 2 hour limit. They will monitor how long you are parked in the zones by chalking your tires.

"We got to give them enough time to recognize that these are here and to know what they mean and know what they are," says Paulette.

Starting at 9AM Tuesday, officers will be out on the streets educating you about the changes. You have some time to learn of those changes. Officers do not expect to start ticketing until at least next week.

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