The signs next to the free parking spaces on Gay Street say there's a two-hour limit between 6:00 am and midnight. However, the more savvy downtown drivers realized a while ago that two-hour limit was rarely enforced.
That's about to change.
Beginning Sunday, September 15, the Public Building Authority will take over Gay Street parking enforcement duties from the Knoxville Police Department. And while the KPD was often too busy to enforce the two-hour limit, the PBA is making it a priority.
"We were getting complaints that some people were parking in the free spots for four, six, eight hours and they weren't getting ticketed," says Knoxville's Director of Communications Angela Starke. "It made it difficult for anyone else to find a parking spot."
Through the end of September, PBA officers will give out warnings to drivers who overstay their two-hour welcome. But as of October 1st, it's an $11 ticket.
The PBA already handles parking enforcement in the city's garages and lots and Starke says the officers know what they're doing. "At the same time, this will give the KPD the chance to do the things they'd rather be doing," she says.
The PBA's jurisdiction will extend down the main business portion of Gay Street from Summit Hill to Hill Avenue. The KPD will continue to manage parking enforcement on the rest of Gay Street and all other city streets.