Three different downtown businesses have three different parking puzzles. For 5 Spa, the biggest nuisances are 2-hour parking signs. In January, the City of Rockford raised parking tickets from $5 to $10 and since many customers go over the 2-hour limit 5 Spa is paying.
Megan Wadleigh who is the owner of 5 Spa says, "I usually take care of those but now that they've gone up it's more of a problem for me to take care of though I usually do."
Around the corner, Fran Kral Lincoln Mercury has been a part of downtown Rockford since 1956. Recently the dealership purchased and demolished The Ing skating rink. In its place is this new parking lot. But the new addition is already being destroyed.
Steveen Anderson who is the General Sales Manager and Owner says, "The issue we have is a number of people cutting through landscape and it's costly to replace. We've replaced it four or five times and it's only been up 2 months."
In 2 months Fran Kral will have a new neighbor. Zambuca is moving into a vacant building right next to Fran Kral. Zambuca is a coffee and piano bar that will be open during the day and at night. This opens up a whole new concern for where Zambuca guests will park.
Anderson tells 23 News, "It's critical that they not use the Quick Lane parking lot during the day."
And when the sun goes down the parking problems don't end. Brio@Bacchus, a popular nighttime dinner spot often hears parking lot tales from customers.
Paul Sletten who is the owner of Brio@Bacchus tells 23 News, "There are times that people circle around 10 minutes looking for parking and they'll be late cause they can't find parking."
So Bacchus is taking drivers street stress away. Sletten states, "To curb that we thought we'll park your car and you come and enjoy yourself. We will take care of it."
Starting in November you will see the valet parking sign up every Saturday night. Now that is only offered during special concerts. All of these business owners are excited about growth and knew there would be growing pains. Now it's just a matter of everyone getting together and talking about what's best for their customers and the growing traffic coming into downtown.
23 News is going to continue to examine how the city and the River District are already working in the downtown parking dilemma.