Home Local News The prequel to downtown parking || What you need to know

The prequel to downtown parking || What you need to know

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Photo: City of Paris


On February 7, 2019, we published a story on the two-hour parking limit when visiting downtown. According to Chief of Police Bob Hundley, “the two-hour parking was actually first shown in the city ordinances back in the 1970s. The ordinance changed in 2016 and the city took out the two-hour parking restriction from 5 p.m. to 8 a.m. from Monday through Friday and 7 p.m. to 8 a.m. on Saturdays. This was in response to those individuals living in the downtown area and downtown evening events. The two-hour parking ordinance has been there since at least 1977.”

However, the law had not really been enforced until recently. You may have been asking yourself – why is it now being enforced? To understand this, you need to understand the why. Apparently many business people who work downtown are taking up parking spaces in front of their own business or their neighbor’s business, leaving little parking room for actual shoppers and visitors. The frustration of the situation led to a complaint to the city manager’s office requesting the parking limit law be enforced and thus a few tickets as of recent have been written. Let’s keep in mind we are lucky that downtown parking is free. This is a plus.

There are no parking meters and “no plans to have parking meters” according to Paris City Manager John Godwin. So what does a parking spot in downtown Paris cost? Cheri Bedford of the Paris Main Street Program conducted a study and if a customer parked downtown for 30 minutes and spent only $5, each parking space could generate $20,800 a year in gross sales.

Now do the math. If you free up these parking spaces being taken up by owners of downtown businesses or the people who work in those businesses, just think of the revenue that could come back to those very businesses and the city with real patrons. It is substantial and works hand-in-hand with a vibrant and thriving downtown everyone wants to see in Paris. It does seem as if downtown Paris is facing some of the same growing pains you see within any city that is updating and refurbishing.

When we spoke to Assistant City Manager for McKinney, Barry Shelton, he said, “we went through this exact thing as our city began to take off. While you can’t please everyone, the most important thing is to get people downtown shopping and dining and making sure parking is readily available as best you can.”

We should also mention other free alternative parking options close to the square can be taken advantage of; such as the Methodist Church parking lot near the Splash Pad, the Farmer’s Market, the courthouse parking lot and the parking lot across from the former Perry’s Restaurant to name a few. In our original story we also posted a poll – How should parking downtown be handled? Options to vote on were to change to a three-hour parking limit, install parking meters or leave the limit at two hours.

The poll came back with 33 percent of voters stating they would like to see the city change the time limit to three hours.

So is the issue a time limit, parking meters, tickets, a convenient parking spot for business owners or is it thinking about the real value of a parking spot for people visiting Paris, real customers and what that return means to those local businesses and the city?

Tell us what you think. Please post your comments in our thread.

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Toni McDowra
Toni McDowra graduated from Texas A&M Commerce with a Bachelor in Business & Marketing. She started her career right here in Paris, TX selling media advertising for KBUS radio.

11 COMMENTS

  1. As a business owner, I love to see the free spaces because I have my customers bringing in cases of items to us as well as going out with a large order. It was not long ago one carried a case of stainless cups over a block to get them to me because the parking was people working in the block above us. She even commented on why there was no parking since only two shops in this block were open at that time. I understand people will walk a long way at Wal Mart, but when they come downtown they like to park close to where they are going. Wish I had an answer to this, but that is the way they think, and we can’t change it.

  2. I would like to see the data that supports the $5 every 30 minutes, I can guarantee you that no one on this side of the street is spending $5 every 30 minutes at ANY of the stores especially mon – thurs… How can a business owner maintain a building , and operate a business on $5 every 30 min. ? Even IF that is the case, I feel that all this law is going to do is cause people to shut the doors on their buildings and leave it in disrepair. The only time I have trouble finding parking is when the chamber is having a meeting or event. I lived in Denton for several years and there was no time limit but you do have meters and honestly I would rather pay then tell my client in the middle of a meeting – it’s been 2 hours please go move your car!!!

  3. If people are coming downtown to shop or to eat, they will park wherever there is a free spot. What is worrrisome is the fact that patrons who are spending time (and money) may begin to become fewer and fewer in fear of receiving a ticket for spending a day or an evening enjoying themselves downtown. Why risk losing patrons (which in turn) would punish the local businesses?? Address the parking issues with the business owners themselves….don’t punish the many for the actions of a few. In addition, there are more urgent issues that the fine men and women of our police department could be utilizing their time for rather than this.

  4. I was always frustrated as a customer when I would try to find a parking place downtown when getting my nails done. It was always the exact same 4 cars taking up the parking places, And there were only 6 places to park in the block. When I would take my 89 year old mother to get her nails done, it was a nightmare. I would have to stop traffic to double park so I could get her out of the car and inside so she didn’t have to walk 10 blocks. When I worked in a city we had to park in parking lots and walk to our offices so there were parking places for customers.

  5. There was a parking lot in the 60s when I was a kid located next to the 107. It had a ticket booth with an operator. It was for Bealls and Belk. I believe it cost 10€ for 2 hours. I’m sure ppl still use it for free now days.

  6. I tend to not park in the lots of other facilities such as the Courthouse and the church for fear of being towed off. Are those places public parking? How long before the Courthouse, church or other ‘private’ parking lots start having cars towed?

  7. Paris city had opportunity to buy parking, but did not. So far lots for 1st National and the old PJC campus have not towed, but might in time as buildings that belong to those spaces fill up with tenants. First Methodist lot is partially “owned” by the city for use of the splash park and restrooms. The only free lots that are public and won’t be towed are the courthouse north lot and the city lots south of city hall in the evening. It will become a problem when 225 possible loft housing inhabitants move in someday. McKinney is a nightmare, but is building multi=level garages. Sulphur Springs is too, but supplements with lots on east and west ends, and a church lot on the south.

  8. I used to love going to McKinney but now dread it because of the parking situation there. It’s a nightmare for anyone wanting to spend the day. I hate to see our city go the same route. If this is inevitable, I highly recommend the three hour limit or put in meters.

  9. I think business owners should take responsibility and find somewhere to park other than in front of the stores. If they want to generate business and draw customers they should show some common courtesy. I would venture to say that many of those owners are young. If they are in the store all day there shouldn’t be a problem parking off of the square and opening up spots for potential shoppers. And, a two hour limit should be plenty of time to take up a meter. I remember when it was an hour parking.

    • Yvonne-While I do understand that patrons need the parking, no accommodations were made for the business owners. They were told to find a place to park and now my 77 year old mother has to walk several blocks in the cold, rain and the coming heat just to get to her business. I think that there could have been a compromise in the parking situation instead of making every single spot a two hour parking spot to accommodate the business owners. She is a healthy 77 and does well, but walking that far in the cold and rain as she had to this past Saturday and Monday have made her take ill. She is the sole owner/operator which means if she’s ill no work is done and she has a loss of needed income.

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