Downtown Parking Changes Still Up In The Air

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Columbia - The Downtown Columbia Leadership Council met Wednesday night to continue talks about potential changes to parking downtown.

Changes could include cheaper parking passes for downtown employees for under-utilized parking spaces as well as cheaper monthly bus passes. These changes are meant to free up parking spaces around downtown businesses and eliminate the need for downtown employees to continually refill their meter during their shift. 

The Downtown Columbia Leadership Council has discussed the plan since December but has yet to take any formal action on the proposal. 

Parking continues to cause frustration for Laura Bullion, partner at Missouri Bluestem Crafts, and the customers trying to shop at Missouri Bluestem Crafts. 

"Parking is the main problem we have," Bullion said. "We see most people who would like to come and shop and perhaps have lunch. They have two hours basically to do that." 

Frustrations boil beyond just street parking and extend to parking garages downtown as well. 

"We used to have a parking place in the garage over here next to us," Bullion said. "The city has a deal with the hotel at this point, and they have taken an entire floor of that garage. Right now we're on a two-year waiting list to have a parking space for our employees to park. We usually get one parking spot for our employees, but we can't get that any longer." 

For now downtown employees will continue to park on the street for only two hours at a time or find a spot in a parking garage downtown.