Downtown business owners face parking troubles - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

Downtown business owners face parking troubles

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SAVANNAH, GA (WTOC) -

It has been a problem for as long as any of us can remember, parking in Downtown Savannah. Now four of the city's five public parking garages are full for monthly parkers.

Some of the downtown businesses said they're paying for it because they can't get reasonable parking.

Jennifer Beisell owns Artsy's Gallery and Frame Shop, one on River Street, another on Broughton Street. What she doesn't own is a parking pass for downtown.

"I pretty much have to work an entire day to pay my parking for a week," said Beisell.

Beisell tried to get a monthly pass, but there's an extensive wait list for all the garages except the Robinson garage. 

But that's about a half a mile away from her Broughton Street shop and almost a mile from her River Street location. It's an inconvenience for a frame shop owner, especially when she stays late at night.

"I'd like to walk somewhere close. I'm a girl, and I'm by myself, usually at night. There has been times that I'm closing and my husband comes down and walks me to my car because I am afraid," said Beisell. 

Currently, Beisell pays $15 a day, $300 a month to park in a daily garage spot. She said the meters are a hassle and the commercial parking permit isn't worth it because she cant move it between cars and she still gets costly tickets anyway.

"Sometimes I get caught talking to customers and I go over that hour limit, and that's not convenient for me why pay $160 a year, plus the parking ticket on top of it."

As a business that brings in tourists, she feels like the city should provide more incentive to be downtown.

"It makes me feel kind of mad because I feel that the City of Savannah should take care of its business owners down here," she said.

The City said they've added more than 3,000 offstreet parking spaces over the last 25 years, building the Whitaker Street garage just three years ago.

Recently the Whitaker garage and the Liberty Street garage have reached capacity as well.

"Its something that we have been working with for sometime, and it's something that we will continue to work with into the future. Parking is an issue downtown, but it's probably the best issue downtown could have," said city spokesman Bret Bell.

The city said it's conducting a study to determine if there is a need for more parking. Until this is determined they encourage other transportation options.

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