As Greenville’s downtown and West End grow, so does the need for parking.
Mike Murphy, director of public works for the city of Greenville, said he knows it can be difficult to find parking in those areas at certain times.
“It’s a challenge for everybody,” he said. “Over the last couple years we’ve added three or four dozen on-street parking spaces downtown, and we are always trying to identify more parking opportunities. We are always looking.”
One possible new parking location in the West End is off Augusta Street. Murphy said the city is working with the Greenville Transit Authority to build a parking lot with 72 spaces.
“GTA-Greenlink has a vacant lot there right now, but we’re going through the process with them to open it as a parking lot. I think that will help a lot,” he said.
Jennifer Chambers, owner of Amanda Henry’s Popcorn Parlor on Augusta Street, said customers frequently perceive there’s a parking problem because there aren’t any parking garages in the West End.
“It can get very busy down here, especially during lunch or Greenville Drive games,” she said. “While there aren’t any parking garages in the West End, there are reserved lots for various business parking and two-hour parking along the street.
“I happen to have a parking lot that my customers can use; we are very fortunate in that regard because that’s not true of all of the businesses.”
There are businesses in the West End that don’t have dedicated parking lots. However, Chambers said most of those businesses have been at their location for some time, so parking in the area may not be that big of an issue.
She said she often hears comments opposite of those complaining about parking.
“I do hear a lot of people say they like the West End because there’s easy access from Augusta, you don’t have to go all the way downtown and park and then do a lot of walking. You can get in and out of this area easily compared to the rest of Main Street,” she said.
Murphy said some of the private parking lots near Flour Field are open, for a fee, for Greenville Drive games, but that is at the discretion of the individual lot owners. The private lots that have signs for $5 parking usually have numbered spaces and attendants to monitor the parking.
Two-hour parking is available behind the West End Market, but Patrick McGill, manager at Mellow Mushroom, said parking is an issue.
“Parking definitely affects both customers and employees,” he said. “And it can be a challenge when large groups show up or we get real busy.”
McGill said customers coming by for carryout orders also have trouble finding a place to park.
According to the city’s website, there are more than 6,000 parking spaces in downtown Greenville, including more than 700 free on-street spaces. There are 11 parking garages and lots in the city.
“Ninety-nine percent of the time there will always be a place to park downtown, and in most cities our size or larger there are parking meters everywhere,” Murphy said. “For a city our size we have a lot of free parking.
“It’s in our nature I guess to want to park right in front of where we are going, but as downtown grows that gets more difficult,” Murphy said.
Murphy said the city is preparing to launch a new parking campaign, to “what we have available for parking.” He said that campaign will start in the next 30 days.