Tina Trenkner is the Deputy Editor for GOVERNING.com. She edits the Technology and Health newsletters.E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Difficulties finding a parking spot downtown can deter visitors from enjoying an evening out. Knowing this, Charleston, S.C., city officials want to make parking easier so more visitors will enjoy the city's attractions. In December, City Council members voted to support a 12-month program, allowing valet companies to bid for use of public parking spaces as pick-up and drop-off points. Four locations will be offered to potential bidders, who can use the sites from 6 p.m. to 12:30 a.m. The valets would park visitors' cars at an off-site lot -- possibly renting parking space from a business that is closed at night or leasing space from the city. Nearby establishments could arrange with valet companies for validated parking. Charleston officials are currently in the process of finalizing the franchise agreements, bid packages and applications, which will require City Council's approval. Once approved, the city can start accepting bids in February and the pilot can begin in March. This program is similar to a valet program in Chapel Hill, N.C., where visitors can drop their cars off at two points along Franklin Street for free or a $5 charge, depending on where patrons visit.