Parking Problems

By: Philip Stewart
By: Philip Stewart

August 30, 2006

The new John Paul Jones Arena brings bigger shows and bigger audiences to Charlottesville. That's great news for the local economy, but people heading to the show are already getting creative when it comes to parking.

Parking at the John Paul Jones Arena runs anywhere from about $12 to $17, depending on the show. For some driver's that's too much, so they're finding free, but not necessarily legal parking in other places.

As the seats fill up inside JPJ, the parking spots at Barracks Road Shopping Center are also filling up.

Don't be fooled, the cars in the parking lot don't all belong to shoppers.

"It's very noticeable, because when people come in, during the day before the concert it's not really noticeable because there are a lot of people in here, but during the concert when everybody clears out there's the same amount of cars in the parking lot, so we know that something's going on," said McKenzie Martin, who works at Buffalo Wild Wings in the Barracks Road Shopping Center.

The end of the parking lot closest to the arena was packed on Wednesday night during the Kenny Chesney concert. People making their way to the arena from there were more than happy to tell the truth about their parking preferences.

"We parked at the Barracks Road Shopping Center," said Corinne Buckley. "I think we're planning on either walking or taking one car rather than three."

University Gardens is right across the street from JPJ. Signs clearly say that the parking lot there is not for event parking.

Unlike employees at Barracks Road, residents at University Gardens said they weren't having any problems.

"We're required to have permits to park here," said Michael Quist, whose apartment practically faces the arena. "So I don't know, maybe people are afraid to park here, but there's plenty of spaces available now."

At both places, it's difficult to keep track of who's parking where, and for how long.

"The only way to police it would be if someone were standing and watching the whole time to see what the car was, realize who it was, and see if there still in 'B-Dubs,' but other than that there's not really much of a way," concluded Martin.

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