Paying to Park: A step forward for Cedar Rapids - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Paying to Park: A step forward for Cedar Rapids

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CEDAR RAPIDS (KWWL) -- For nearly five months after the flood, people could park along the street in downtown Cedar Rapids for free.

Many workers then left their cars there all day. But this week, that came to an end. It's a change that many small businesses owners say is for the better.

The return of metered parking is not an idea that normally correlates to being overjoyed, but for Cedar Rapids downtown business owners, it's a welcome sight.

One Cedar Rapids resident says the streets are clearer, cars aren't jammed everywhere, and they're parked legally.

"We have heard from people this week to say 'Oh I got a spot'. They call it rock star parking when they can pull right up front. It looks like VIP parking," Becky Bateman, the owner of Victor's Place, said.

Business has been booming at Victor's Place since it became the first ground floor business downtown to re-open after the flood three months ago.

Until metered parking resumed Monday, Bateman said the situation was driving some customers away. One customer said they tried to come downtown to eat, but couldn't find parking spot, so they had to park two or three blocks away.

Bateman says many downtown workers that should have been parking in garages were instead taking advantage of free parking on the street. Now they're back in the ramps.

Back-in-angle parking has also created more spaces.

"Everybody loves that because there's more cars fitting and it's easier than parallel parking so everybody seems to like that a lot," Copy Shop employee Jessica Devine-Meyer said.

Many downtown businesses still sit empty. As more and more re-open, parking is likely to become more of an issue. That's why the parking division is considering extending angle parking to more locations. While it's just one idea, in Becky Bateman's eyes, parking improvements are part of the progress.

Online Reporter: Bryan Goettel

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