Turnover and Barhopping


By Steven Bergin, CAPP

It’s been over a year – in October 2022, the City of Richmond began enforcing time-restricted parking regulations on Saturdays in strategic areas of our central business district. This is part of our downtown city center area where Monday through Friday parking was the norm for downtown office work. Patronage downtown on the weekends used to drop off, but that trend has changed with increased residential, retail, and restaurant activity. All good things!

We heard from civic groups in the area about their desire to create turnover in an effort to support small businesses.

Here’s how we approached the change. First, we contacted the City Council offices affected by the change. They were supportive, and it was helpful to have them informed of the plan if and when they received citizen concerns.

Then, we released a press release explaining why we were making the change:

  • That time limits are used to increase turnover, allowing more cars to park in the same number of spaces over the course of the day.
  • That creating parking turnover will reduce the amount of time long-term parkers occupy on-street spaces intended to support local businesses and educational institutions.

Finally, we implemented a two-week grace period where violators received a warning as a reminder of the new parking regulation.

Surprisingly, the reaction was not as negative as I had anticipated. We did hear the usual complaints that the city was implementing Saturday enforcement as a revenue grab and that it would deter people from coming downtown. A press article on the change received a comment claiming we were scandalous and mean, but my favorite was from a citizen who was concerned about their ability to barhop.

Overall, we did not receive the overwhelming pushback we normally receive when implementing changes in our on-street parking program, nor did our council liaisons. Saturday activity in the area continues to be vibrant, and local businesses are thriving.

Steven Bergin, CAPP, is the Parking Program Administrator for the City of Richmond, Virginia. He can be reached at Steven.Bergin@rva.gov.