It’s the first week of $2-an-hour parking in Charleston and the public’s verdict (according to CP’s very scientific polling system of scoping out potential parkers and shoving an iPhone in their face) is in: tacit acceptance and slight disillusion with local government.

Most people we spoke to agreed that the price is high, but said that they’ll continue to slip into those coveted white lines anyway, since there’s not much they can do about it.

Charleston City Council agreed to the price increase last year, which drew the ire of downtown hospitality workers outside of a Council meeting in March. For now, you can still pay $1 for half-an-hour on your credit card. Parking enforcement will also be extended from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. on Mon. April 23.

[content-1] Here’s what 10 local drivers told CP as they did their best to park peacefully this week:
Ron Curry, 31
Banquet Captain and server, High Cotton

“It sucks! Before the amount was increased, it was $170 a month to park. Now that that amount has doubled that’s $340 and then with the extension from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m., it’s approximately $460 a month to park, which is my second biggest bill behind rent. I bought a moped so that I didn’t have to pay for parking anymore because it’s ridiculous. I can tie it up to a bike rack.”
Michael Lankford, 57

“I’m not crazy about it, ’cause I have to work downtown and it costs me more money. If I work downtown enough, I have to pass that on to my customers. What are we gonna do? I’m fine, gotta pay to play and we need the revenue for the city, so it’s all good.”

Angus Lawton, 55

“I don’t like it. It’s too much, too much, too high, unnecessary tax.”

Steven Muckenfuss, 49
Construction worker

“It’s fine, I mean, gotta do what you gotta do to make a living. You gotta do it or else you’ll get a ticket or they’ll boot you, so I’m gonna live with it. It didn’t bother me too much, but $2 — they’re making money.”

Anna Malone, 22

“I guess it kinda sucks. Can’t really do much about it. I’m not living downtown now.
Probably put an extra burden on me.”

Anonymous, 36 (“Because [Councilman and CARTA chair] Mike Seekings comes in the restaurant and I know he’s for this, so I’d like to stay out of it.”)

“I work at Halls (Chophouse), I’ve been working there for 9 years. As I’m dropping money in I’m like, “Oh it’s $2 an hour?” No, yeah. I’ll go park in the ghetto. Yeah, that’s ridiculous.”

Lee Gilliard, 76
Retired educator

“I don’t feel nothing, I’m just tired of too much traffic, but parking — I can’t afford it. I screamed, but I usually park in a parking garage ’cause you can’t park out here. If I could’ve found my daughter, I would’ve had her drop me off out here. I would never attempt to find a parking space, it’s too much traffic.”

James Klein, 73
Retired law teacher

“(Struggling with his credit card.) I can’t walk and chew gum at the same time, do you know how to do this? (I put my camera down and begin helping him decipher the meter.) I gotta do more, at least an hour. (I press the arrow up key.) Is there a limit on this? (Yes.)

That’s a complicated question. I know the problem is appropriate parking for people who work downtown, and I know the answer right now from the city is to have the shuttle service. I don’t think they should be charging more for parking downtown, especially because the people who have business downtown that require people to work for them who don’t live downtown are going to be really compromised. It’s too early to tell. It affects all of us to pay more, I’ll be paying twice as much. I usually walk downtown, but I don’t have the luxury today to do that.”

Nancy Bush, 61
Homemaker and philanthropist

“You know, I’m a little surprised. I was feeding the other meter as well, because it was running out. That’s a lot! I love Charleston, I’ll come and pay and do whatever. I used to live [downtown], so this is a nice treat to come down. I have no problem, I’m so grateful.”

Chris Graf, 44

“I don’t come downtown a lot, I live in Mt. Pleasant. I guess I would expect there would be random increases periodically, maybe that’s a little high. I grew up here, I usually just go up to the neighborhoods and try to park anyway. It’s rare that I try to find a metered spot. I’m sure for some people it is [a big deal].”

Check in next week when we ride CARTA’s hospitality park-and-ride “HOP” shuttles.
[content-3] [content-2]

Love Best of Charleston?

Help the Charleston City Paper keep Best of Charleston going every year with a donation. Or sign up to become a member of the Charleston City Paper club.