Community Leaders Look for Answers to Savannah's Parking Problem

With St. Patrick's Day out of the way, Savannah city leaders and businesses are ready to tackle another major task: parking.

In downtown Savannah, if you can't find a parking spot, you'll probably be walking quite a ways to your favorite store. "I feel like people will find a way to us, but we want to make it more friendly for them," owner of 24 e Furnishings, Ruel Joyner told WTOC.

Monday morning, Ruel and a group of people from parking services, the Downtown Business Association and the Savannah Tourism and Film office scouted out the city's parking problem areas, brainstorming ideas.

"For us to have better business, we have to have better planning for better parking," Ruel said. "Business is brisk on Broughton, but not strong enough where we overlook the parking component."

One of the major ideas proposed is to open up parking on one side of Whitaker Street from Bay to Victory Drive for a certain part of the day.

"You know, I'm old enough to remember when Whitaker and Drayton did have parking," Jim Gilliamsen said. "And it worked."

Gilliamsen is the Parking Services director for the City of Savannah. He says the parking on one-ways is an idea which can be implemented quickly. "It's a city ordinance. It's easy," he said.

Some other ideas may take a little more time. During their walk, the group pointed out freight zones they'd like to see made into regular parking and short term meter parking they would like to see with extended times beyond 15 and 30 minutes.

"Contrary to what people say, we know what we are doing," Gilliamsen said. "But we are also open to fresh ideas."

"I think all options are viable on the table," Ruel said.

Ruel believes, if only a few ideas are put in place, the effort will be a success. "A little bit helps to make a large difference," he said.

The group meets again this Friday morning to discuss the parking solutions for downtown. They're also working on the idea of a one day, pre-paid visitor parking pass for out-of-towners. We'll let you know what they decide.

Reported by: Don Logana,