UPDATED: Tuesday, March 5, 2013 - 10:33pm
Waco, Tx — Constant bumper to bumper parking, blocking storefront entrances, is a daily problem for those conducting business on Austin Avenue in Dowtown Waco. In order to fix the problem, one organization is spending thousands of dollars to hire off-duty officers to enforce a two hour parking limit.
Dowtown Waco business owner, Erin Plemons hopes a sticter enforcement of a two hour parking rule won't run off her customers. Plemons runs Pure Vida Day Spa and Salon and a shop next door, and she says many of her clients stay longer than two hours.
"It's a very big inconvenience," Plemons says about the crackdown on two hour parking times.
Plemons says parking has always been an issue in downtown Waco. And, she feels active police enforcement now won't actually solve the problem.
"The parking situation is a big deal, but I don't think the two hour parking is going to alleviate the situation," said Plemons.
However, other business owners, like Jonathon Shelton say two hours is plenty of time to do business.
"You can get plenty of stuff done. With our classes, even if you came in early, stretched out, did the hour long workout, took a shower, two hours is good," said Shelton, owner of Crossfit Waco.
The Waco Public Improvement district spent five thousand dollars to hire an off-duty cop to randomly patrol Austin Avenue, explains Tom Chase, a chairman of the Waco Public Improvement District. Chase says two hour parking limit signs have been up for years, but they have not been adhered to recently.
"A lot of people who work in the office buildings park on the streets, and it's blocking businesses," said Chase.
Those violating the two hour rule will face fines ranging from 25 to more than five hundred dollars.
Waco Police Department says people are going to have to get used to walking maybe 100 feet instead of parking in the door of a business.
"There is lots of parking downtown. It's unfortunate that everyone wants that spot right by their front door," said Patrick Swanton, Waco Police Spokesman.
Chase and others say the heavier enforcement is a response to complaints that people are abusing parking privileges.
"There's lots of parking downtown. It's not just on Austin Avenue," said Chase.
I do think it's being abused quite a bit out there," said Shelton.
The enforcement goes into effect on April 1.