STARKVILLE — Paid parking via parking solution company ParkMobile resumed today for patrons and visitors in portions of Downtown Starkville. On University Drive, from Montgomery Street east to Mississippi State University, drivers will be prompted to pay to park along the street.
There is no charge for parking that does not exceed 15 minutes. Green parking spaces signify paid parking zones.
“I absolutely am optimistic about it. If I hadn’t been I certainly wouldn’t have felt that it was the right thing for us to do,” said Starkville Mayor Lynn Spruill. “The businesses, I think, have been impacted by it in the sense of the ones who came to us wanting to be put in place and been happy about it. In particular the ones in the denser area of the Cotton District like Bin 612 and Boardtown Pizza, Two Brothers, have all been glad to see its implementation.”
Paid parking was implemented, chiefly, to encourage more rapid parking space turnover to ensure patrons of businesses in the area have somewhere to park. ParkMobile collects a $0.35 user fee in addition to other credit card fees.
“I hope it works,” said Hamp Beatty, Ward 5 Alderman. “That’s the intent of doing the ParkMobile paid parking in the Cotton District. To enhance turning over parking spaces so that businesses in that part of town would have an opportunity to have patrons be able to find a place to park and go into a restaurant or shop or something.”
Currently, drivers have the option to download the ParkMobile app to pay or pay through ParkMobile’s website. There are no kiosks where a card may be inserted or swiped, something Beatty would like to see added in the future.
“I’m still a proponent of trying to put in some kiosks in some selected places where people can have the option (to pay with card). I think what we should do is be able to accommodate people that come to that part of town and give them the option to use the mobile app if they want to do that. And a lot of younger folks will do that,” said Beatty. “But then some people my age or my own might just want to walk up and put a credit card in the kiosk.”
ParkMobile was introduced in Starkville for the first time on March 15. However, after negative public reception and resistance—largely due to lack of awareness and understanding about the new paid parking system—paid parking was suspended in late April.
“I do think that part of the problem is people are just not comfortable with change,” said Spruill. “And so this is one of those things that requires them to do something differently, and learn something new, ie the use of the app, and that sort of thing.”
In early May, the Starkville Board of Aldermen voted 6-1 to amend Starkville’s parking ordinance, paving the way for paid parking to be reintroduced. The new ordinance went into effect today as well.