Why Richmond parking crackdown worries some in Scott’s Addition

RICHMOND, Va. -- What was once considered a “wild, wild west’ of parking is about to come to an end in Richmond's Scott’s Addition neighborhood.

A recent email sent from a Scott's Addition property manager to residents indicated the two-hour parking signs along Norfolk and Summit Streets would now be enforced by Richmond’s parking enforcement officers.

"As of Monday October 8th street parking will be two-hour parking only. City of Richmond will be ticketing any vehicles that are street parked longer than two hours,” the letter read.

Thursday morning, a neighbor snapped photos of a Richmond parking enforcement officer placing warning tickets on cars overstaying the posted two-hour limit. The citations included a $0 fine. A property employee clarified the officer notified them of the changes.

Trevor Dickerson, president of the Scott’s Addition Boulevard Association, said it would be a rarity to see a parking officer in his neighborhood just a few months ago.

"[It's] the end of the wild west. It was kind of a no-man's land, anything goes and anybody can grab a spot and take it," Dickerson described. "You could really leave your car anywhere. I know as a resident [you would] not worry about being ticketed or towed."

Dickerson stated the association has been pushing for the city to increase parking enforcement.

"We are becoming a hotter neighborhood and there's been fewer and fewer places to park," he said.

“As the neighborhood has grown and new businesses have moved in, parking has become increasingly scarce. We’re also working with the City of Richmond on a parking and circulation study that will provide recommendations on how to best utilize the available parking in Scott’s Addition and what can be done to provide more," according to the associations website.

Some residents who once parked freely in Scott's Addition, stated they would soon be forced to pay for garage or lot parking with less than a week's notice.

Currently, there is no permit parking program for permanent residents or businesses like in the Fan District.

Residents believed the city is suddenly and unfairly enforcing the two-hour 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. parking restrictions that have been posted for years.

"The vast majority of parking signs in this neighborhood are completely obsolete and make absolutely no sense with the current use of the area," resident Greg Koehler stated. "I am all for enforcing the signs, but they absolutely need to be updated to be relevant first; making the signs relevant is a far more important issue and would greatly improve the living, enjoyment and safety of this neighborhood."

Richmond City Councilwoman Kim Gray said constituents told her enforcement officers have been giving out warning tickets, but was unaware of any official plans to change parking restrictions.

“Due to the parking demand in Scott’s Addition in order to increase vehicle turnover, we will be enforcing the existing posted restrictions," a spokesperson with the city’s Department of Public Works said. "The results of the parking study will possibly identify other areas within Scott’s Addition that might require restrictions to increase vehicle turnover."

Dickerson stated that the results of the parking study would be revealed closer to Thanksgiving.

Possible solutions to the parking woes include placing meters on sidewalks and creating a permit plan for residents, according to Dickerson.

Carter Snipes, who owns the Hofheimer Building on West Broad Street and serves on the association board, believed parking was the least of Scott's Addition's problems.

"I feel like we have other issues, lack of sidewalks, lack of street lighting, and lack of trees which represent a safety challenge," Snipes explained. "You have customers that may be in a restaurant for two hours and may get a ticket."

It’s unclear if the posted two-hour restricted parking will be enforced throughout the 47-block historic district.

Update: As of Tuesday, Councilwoman Kim Gray’s office that they were “advised by the Department of Public Works that the new parking enforcement policy has been rescinded and is no longer in effect.”