Parking changes coming as deck construction nears

The gated paid parking lot south of Kingfish bar will soon be converted to a pay-by-space system.

Staff photo

Drivers can expect to see some changes to the paid parking program when visiting the Dickson Street entertainment district this fall.

City officials last week said a few adjustments are needed to prepare for the upcoming construction of the new downtown parking deck.

East Lot

The city will soon remove the gates at the entrance and exit of the parking lot to the east of the Walton Arts Center, just south of Kingfish bar. The lot will remain a paid parking area, but will change to the pay-by-space system to match the North Lot behind Jose’s Mexican Restaurant.

About a dozen spaces in the East Lot will be used for a construction trailer while the deck is being built.

South Lot

The parking lot south of the Walton Arts Center campus will close to the public during construction of the deck. About half of the lot will be used as a temporary parking area for Walton Arts Center employees, and the other half will be used to stage construction equipment.

Once construction is complete, the gates will be removed and the lot will be converted to a pay-by-space system.

The arts center’s offices and staff parking lot will be removed and rebuilt as part of the parking deck design. Staff recently moved to a temporary home across West Avenue inside the Metro District Building.

West Lot

There are no changes planned for the large parking lot to the west of the Walton Arts Center. The lot will continue to utilize a gated system due to its use as a special event location and for current Walton Arts Center event parking.

Residential parking

A few hundred on-street spaces are reserved for people who live in the entertainment district.

A crew will begin painting an “R” on all the residential parking spaces to help drivers more easily identify which spots are for residents and which are available to the general public.

New four-digit system

With all the new pay-by-number spaces being created in the East Lot, South Lot and the new parking deck, the three-digit system is being converted to four digits.

Darrin Wright, a supervisor for the city’s Parking Management Division, said the move should help differentiate the city-owned public lots from the more expensive private lots in the area.

Construction begins soon

Jeremy Pate, the city’s Development Services director, said a crew would likely begin tearing down the Walton Arts Center offices the first week in August. After that, excavation work will begin at Spring Street and School Avenue where the 245-space deck will be constructed.

Pate said once work begins, he expects construction to take a little less than a year to complete.