TYLER — The City of Tyler makes more than $100,000 every year on tickets for unpaid parking meters. Business owners in the heart of Tyler say it's pushing away customers.
"They drive by and drive by and leave and not come back because they just cant find a parking spot," says Thomas Tidwell, with La Tee Da flowers. Tidwell says his customers are forced to park several blocks away from his shop. "They're not willing to walk a block and a half just to carry a flower arrangement in the screaming sun," he says.
Tyler City Council members say if the city wants to grow, there has to be more spaces. "We constantly get concerns about not enough parking in the downtown, and arguably some of the buildings remain vacant because there is not sufficient parking," says City Manager Mark McDaniel.
Also, parking meters only allow time for two hours. Then, drivers have to move their car to another space, or they'll get a ticket. "It's hard for a business that offers services that could be over 2 hours," says the owner of Salon Verve--which hands out quarters for customers' parking meters and offers valet parking.
The city says the two hour meters are to bring in more customers and keep people from parking all day and re-feeding the meter.
Now, Tyler City Council is looking at plans to build a multi-level parking garage near the library with 400 spaces. It would still cost money, but drivers wouldn't have to feed the meters.
Business owners say it's a good idea. Give us your thoughts on the two-hour meters, and tell us if you think a parking garage will help with downtown parking.