Parking in downtown Blue Ridge has been a problem for many years and the Downtown Development Authority has created a committee to try and bring some clarity and resolution to our parking problems. The City and DDA held two town hall meetings to get input on the parking issues from any concerned citizens on February 5th. The meetings were well received and garnered many ideas that the parking committee will incorporate into their planning.
The parking committee has identified two major causes of parking congestion in downtown occupying parking spaces all day: 1) customers of the Blue Ridge Scenic Railway and 2) owners and workers of downtown businesses. The solution is to direct these groups to parking areas off of East and West Main streets. The committee will identify parking areas at both ends of town for business owners and employees to park for FREE. This will help the store owners and restaurants generate more income by turning the parking spaces faster while still allowing people to park and visit their favorite shops. We will also work with the Blue Ridge Shuttle to accommodate workers and owners who don't or can't walk to their places of business. The train will identify parking areas on their website and ticket pages pointing customers to the areas available for parking and fees associated with those areas. Once these have been identified, fee-based parking will be initiated on East and West Main Streets.
The intention is to allow a voucher system to be utilized by businesses that need them and also put in place an identification form for city residents to park for free in downtown.
- Parking around City Hall is moving forward
- A new parking garage is being built to offer 185 parking spaces as part of the retail development along West Main Street between Church and Depot streets.
- Parking is being developed in the lot behind Blue Jeans Pizza
- The Blue Ridge Runner is in business and will be available to help shuttle people from more remote parking areas
- A more detailed map of parking areas in the downtown business district will be published
- New signage is being developed to more easily guide visitors to parking areas.
The funds that will be generated through fee-based parking will be used to increase public safety through improvements in sidewalks, signage, lighting and beautification of walking paths from parking areas to downtown.
Parking will continue to be an ongoing work in progress and the DDA parking committee is open for input from interested individuals or businesses. Please direct correspondence to the DDA Parking Committee via the City of Blue Ridge.