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Transportation

Rice Village Hopes New Parking Plan Will Encourage Visitors To Stay Longer

The popular local shopping district says it doesn’t want to lose customers because of a perceived lack of parking.

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  • New signs direct visitors to parking garages in Rice Village.
    New signs direct visitors to parking garages in Rice Village.
  • Owner Pat Meeks in front of his shop La Taste in Rice Village
    Owner Pat Meeks in front of his shop La Taste in Rice Village
  • New metered parking on Rice Boulevard in Rice Village
    New metered parking on Rice Boulevard in Rice Village
  • Morningside in Rice Village
    Morningside in Rice Village
  • Rice Village shoppers are encouraged to use parking garages where the first two hours are free.
    Rice Village shoppers are encouraged to use parking garages where the first two hours are free.
  • New parking meters in Rice Village will take credit cards only.
    New parking meters in Rice Village will take credit cards only.
  • Corner of Rice Boulevard and Morningside in Rice Village.
    Corner of Rice Boulevard and Morningside in Rice Village.
  • Private parking garage in Rice Village.
    Private parking garage in Rice Village.
  • The new Rice Village parking plan allows visitors to park in garages for up to two hours for free.
    The new Rice Village parking plan allows visitors to park in garages for up to two hours for free.
  • A truck stops to make a delivery on University Boulevard in Rice Village.
    A truck stops to make a delivery on University Boulevard in Rice Village.

On a rainy morning we met Pat Meeks in front of La Taste, the gift shop he's operated in Rice Village for over 30 years. During that time he's seen a lot of changes. Recently the issue has been parking, as visitors repeatedly circle the block looking for a space right in front of the businesses.

"Sometimes I have one shot at that customer," says Meeks. "And they build into their mind that they're never going to find a place to park and they may never return."

But Meeks hopes that endless circling is a thing of the past, now that Rice Village is rolling out of a new parking plan.

Many of those sought-after spaces will now have parking meters. They'll cost a dollar an hour, a bit more on weekends. And they're intended for short-term visitors. People who want to stay longer are directed to parking garages where the first two hours are free.

Parking consultant Jerry Marcus hopes the plan will help reshape Rice Village as a shopping district.

"You were sort of going there for individual businesses and didn't make it a very friendly, walkable place," says Marcus.

Those new meters will be switched on next week. Part of the proceeds will benefit a local park and elementary school.

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Gail Delaughter

Gail Delaughter

News Anchor

From early-morning interviews with commuters to walks through muddy construction sites, Gail covers all aspects of getting around Houston. That includes walking, driving, cycling, taking the bus, and occasionally flying. Before she became transportation reporter in 2011, Gail hosted weekend programs for Houston Public Media. She's also covered courts in...

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