Parking problems in the Fan grow as restaurants increase

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - Residents along South Davis in the Fan say parking Thursday through Sunday nights is nearly impossible.

The city's addressed the problems with some quick fixes, but folks who live in the area say what's really needed is a parking deck.

Mint is the latest in restaurants to open its doors in the Fan. It has been packed the last few nights and so have the streets around it.

In the daylight, it's easy to find a parking spot along South Davis — but in the evenings, it's wall-to-wall tires.

"We need to have places to park for the restaurant customers as well as the residents that live in the area," said Kelley Davis.

We've been chronicling Kelley Davis' fight for parking spaces along South Davis for months now. She now has 17 restaurants within a 4-block radius of her home.

What makes it so difficult for these homeowners is, there's no alley here. There's no off-street parking.

"I love the area. I love that Richmond is revitalizing and, you know, new restaurants are popping up everywhere," said Davis.

She just wishes the city would address the growing area's biggest need — parking.

Davis got the city to take down a few "no parking" signs.

Jake Crocker owns FW Sullivans and is president of the Uptown Civic Association.

He's even helped to get the GRTC to open up its old lot.

"We would like to be able to utilize it as an open lot, but GRTC does not have the man power or their insurance coverage for that area," said Crocker.

Instead, the agency is allowing valet parking by some of the restaurants.

Crocker even got his insurance to cover his employees parking in the GRTC lot — he hopes more restaurants will do the same.

"It's maybe a start to solving the problem, but we need something more definitive, a long term solution to the problem," said Davis.

Both Crocker and Davis say there's one long term solution that needs priority.

"Parking deck is a magic word because it would make it so much easier for people to come downtown and park."

Davis plans to take the parking problems on South Davis before City Council at its next meeting.

As of now, the city still controls the future of the old GRTC site.

Many residents tell us they'd like to see the city require a parking deck be part of whatever plans a future buyer for the site wants to create.

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