JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (WJHL) — Booming business and growth in downtown Johnson City are forcing the city to find new options for parking.
Other people agree that something needs to be done.
“On the weekends, like Friday through Sunday,” said downtown driver, Ava Simms. “At night especially, definitely closer into the middle of downtown, it’s a lot worse.”
“It is a very big issue for the downtown,” said Patriotic Popcorn Company owner, John Brady. “There is not enough [parking].”
City Manager Cathy Ball said the parking issue was identified as a need last year. Brady said it’s been an issue for the last two years they’ve been in their building at the corner of South Roan Street and State of Franklin Road.
He said he hears complaints from customers about parking. Some customers have gotten towed and left a bad review because of it. Other customers are forced to find parking on the Tree Streets, especially during the weekends and evenings when it’s busy. Brady said this takes away residential parking and causes a safety hazard.
“So, when they get deterred away, they’re like, ‘why waste our time coming downtown? Let’s go somewhere else’,” said Brady. “And that takes away from the downtown business.”
Brady said the parking isn’t enough for the people who live here, let alone for the people who come out of town to visit.
The city plans to conduct a parking study and gain feedback from drivers, look at on-street parking, and street traffic flow; Ball said the study will look at some of the two-way streets to determine how traffic can be slowed.
“We’re fortunate enough to have a really booming downtown and of course, with that comes the need for parking,” said Ball. “So, we want to look and see where the demand is in certain locations and what can be done to help provide additional parking in the right places.”
Ball said the city will begin its request for proposal process at the first of the year. She said a consultant should be on board and begin the work in spring 2024.