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City of Clemson updates downtown parking regulations

Ashleigh Snyder // Photo Editor
With the updated regulations, parking in downtown Clemson will remain free on nights and weekends.

The Clemson City Council passed the first reading of an ordinance to meter all public parking in downtown Clemson at the Jan. 2 meeting.

If the second reading of the ordinance passes on Tuesday, Jan. 16, all public on-street parking along College Avenue, as well as the downtown Clemson side streets, will be metered at 50 cents per half hour with a two-hour limit. However, the first half hour will be free, which was recommended at the Clemson City Council Dec. 18 meeting last month.

Motorists will be required to pay to park from 7 a.m. until 5 p.m., Monday through Friday.

Motorists will not be allowed to park on College Avenue between 4 a.m. and 7 a.m. to allow for street cleaning, deliveries and similar activities. Violators will receive a $120 ticket or a tow for repeating offenders.

If passed next week, these updated regulations will be enforced by a new pay-by-plate system from T2 Systems, where users will register their license plate and pay to park in a parking zone, as suggested at the Oct. 16, 2023, city council meeting.

Patrons will have the option to pay at kiosks or use a text-to-park system from their phones so that parked vehicle owners can add time to their space without physically returning to their parking space or kiosk.

Along with on-street parking, the downtown Clemson parking decks will have updated parking regulations. The first four hours will cost $1 an hour, with the first half hour free. However, motorists will now be able to stay with up to 8 hours of metered parking, with an increasing price per hour for longer stays, up to a daily max of $23.

The decks will also be moving to the new pay-by-plate and text-to-park system.

The only free public parking downtown will be 20 spaces in the University Lutheran Church parking lot, which will remain free two-hour public parking.

The ordinance mentions that there will also be a single-fee “special event” rate charged for both on-street and deck parking during football games, similar to many other downtown establishments, bringing the current deck leasing program to an end.

There will be other spaces available for yearly lease by downtown businesses for their employees in the Lutheran lot, as well as in the parking garages.

This shift to metered parking is to encourage turnover in parking spaces to help patrons of downtown businesses and discourage students from parking downtown when going to class, according to Lindsey Newton, the Community and Economic Development coordinator.

The change will also simplify downtown parking, unifying the current patchwork of on-street parking rules.

“I parked downtown around once a week because I didn’t want to pay for a parking pass, and it was just as close as the commuter lots,” Meral Hardwicke, a recent Clemson alumnus, said. “I used it a lot for evening club meetings and studying in the library, but I would usually wait until after 2:00 p.m. to use the three-hour spaces for the rest of the day.”

The streets affected by metered parking include College Avenue, Keith Street, Edgewood Avenue, Earle Street, Findley Street, Sloan Street and the east end of Clemson Avenue, with the plan to be implemented sometime this spring, Newton said during the Jan. 2 meeting.

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Corey Glenn
Corey Glenn, Asst. News Editor
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