“Can’t you feel ‘em circlin’
Can’t you feel ‘em drivin’ round
You got decks to the right, you got spots to the left
But you’re holding out for the only spot in town.”
A little twist on Jimmy Buffet seems to be the proper way to start this topic, because this subject, much like Jimmy’s fins, has teeth. In any room, in any downtown, on any day – if I ask a group what they would most like improved about downtown, one of the first three responses will be parking.
It is a known commodity of all downtowns, big and small, and one that is usually in high demand. Couple that with the “line of sight” parking that has been ingrained by big boxes and malls over the past few decades, and downtowns have an uphill climb to convince you it is okay to come on down, look around, and enjoy the stroll. The parking is fine.
Let’s break Downtown Spartanburg’s parking down by the numbers, shall we?
Let’s work through these. Did you know we currently have 4 parking garages boasting 2,700 spaces? The Magnolia, Dunbar, Liberty, and Kennedy deck garages are all free after 5 p.m. and on the weekends.
But what about during weekdays, and especially during the lunch-hour rush? Well, if you want to head to one of Downtown Spartanburg’s delicious restaurants, an hour in any of those garages only runs $.50. Use of a garage spot for an entire day is only $4.
Did you know there are 4 other surface lots boasting 400 free public parking spots? That doesn’t include the miles of on-street parking that’s also free every day.
Spartanburg has parking. You don’t have to look far for it, and it’s not costly. It’s there, its accessible, and it gets you quickly out to enjoy all the great businesses our beautiful downtown boasts.
Still don’t believe me? You mean you can never find a spot when you come down? That’s okay. Take this advice though. Heading to Morgan Square? Skip Main Street and take Broad instead. Two surface lots, street parking and more with direct access through Wall Street.
Next time you are going down to Hub City Bookshop or the Coffee Bar, just before you get to the building take a right down King Street. Voila. Or, the outer ring of the parking lot at the Spartanburg Herald-Journal’s office at 189 W. Main St. is available for free, public parking.
Or the next time you are heading to the East Main businesses such as Price’s, Spill the Beans, or Imagination Station – come down Dunbar and park right behind the businesses. Need a cold one from Cribb’s or Silo? Head on down Daniel Morgan just a little further and on your left is a lot shared with JM Smith with public parking. All these spots a block away or so, yet no one seems to notice them.
Notice them now, friends. Alright, now that I have given away all my secret spots, I need to go find some place to park.
Or, I can take advantage of parking a little further out and enjoy the investment made in our sidewalk experiences. After all, as well-known urban planner Jane Jacobs once said, “The trust of a city street is formed over time from many, many little public sidewalk contacts… Most of it is ostensibly trivial but the sum is not trivial at all.”