NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — Pay-to-park will soon be the rule on one of downtown’s busiest streets. Payment kiosks are now in place along Boush Street.
After downtown restaurants had converted some of their spaces to outdoor dining during the pandemic, the city responded by converting one travel one in each direction on Boush Street to 144 parking spaces. It’s leaving a bad taste for folks who live, work and eat downtown.
“I don’t like it,” said Chonia Reese, who comes to the neighborhood for its shops and restaurants — but maybe not so much anymore. “They’re gonna make people not want to come down here.”
The rate will be 45 cents for every 15 minutes, and enforcement is scheduled to begin April 19.
For Ronald Alba, downtown Norfolk is home.
“I don’t think it’s fair, because it was free initially and now they’re gonna charge,” he said.
Alba says now that travel along Boush is only one lane in each direction, it becomes a problem with people getting hung up in intersections.
“There’s so many lights on this street and they don’t really work in tandem.”
Several city officials were in favor of parking along Boush for another reason – to make it less attractive as a cut-through up to Brambleton.
At the corner of Boush and Freemason sits historic Freemason Abbey restaurant, the cozy converted church that serves lunch and dinner seven days a week.
“These meters, I think they’re overkill,” said restaurant supervisor Kael Chacon. His customers can park in the private lot, but pre-COVID, that was often not enough space.
“People would come in and ask ‘where can I park?’ if the lot would be full,” he said.
Chacon’s looking forward to fewer restrictions and a healthy appetite for dining, shopping and just being downtown. But that would mean his overflow customers would have to park out on Boush –and pay.
“We’re just gonna have parking issues downtown. [There] always has been,” he said.
One thing Alba does like about the new setup on Boush Street is the new bike lane.
“I like how this street and this area is pretty much becoming a biking community,” Alba said.