City of Clemson looking to charge for downtown street parking

Published: Nov. 20, 2023 at 11:36 PM EST
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CLEMSON, S.C. (FOX Carolina) - Clemson City Council is looking at a new way to counter a long-standing problem many run into when visiting downtown.

“Parking is definitely a struggle,” said Owen Jaskwhich.

Jaskwhich works on College Avenue in downtown Clemson and rarely has an easy commute to work.

“Today, I drove my car to work, and I actually left my house about 15 minutes earlier than I would have if I drove my moped because I might have had to search for parking,” he said.

There are 310 public parking spaces in downtown Clemson, with the on-street parking spots free of charge.

“We are realizing with more traffic coming through as the university grows and as we have more residents, that we need to have more turnover and a way for people to park if they want to visit our wonderful downtown,” explained Clemson City Council Member Catherine Watt.

On Monday, the city council held a work session to discuss the downtown parking initiative. The biggest change would be making on-street parking cost money. Council discussed setting the price at $1 per hour, for a maximum of two hours. They also discussed making the first 30 minutes free.

“We are making this as reasonably priced as possible,” said Watt.

The main hope would be to help businesses and have more people walk through the doors.

“There’s people who will be much more willing to go somewhere not downtown because they know they can park and get out of their car and have no problems,” said Jaskwhich.

City leaders say any revenue generated they would like to reinvest that money into public transit.

“This is really a way to make parking more equitable for people. It is a way to meet people’s needs, young and old, who want to come and visit downtown,” said Watt.

Clemson City Council will continue to finalize details on the downtown parking initiative over the next few weeks. Leaders say it will be until next spring or summer at the earliest when the new system could fully be in place.