HOUSTON - There are some new additions to the parking lots around Rice Village.
Meters have been installed in parking spots outside most stores and will be activated early next week.
The meters will cost $1 per hour during the week, depending how long you stay.
Prices go up to $2 per hour Friday through Sunday.
Spots in onsite parking garages will continue to be free for the first two hours.
Rice Village management says the change is not intended to make a profit. The goal is to encourage drivers to park in garages to free up premium space in front on stores.
Peter Garcia, owner of El Meson Restaurant and president of the Rice Village Alliance, says many business owners support the meters.
“Parking is going to be much better now with the meters, because it encourages people to move and roll it over. You don’t want a car there parked all day when that spot can be used by ten different visitors to the village,” said Garcia.
Shoppers, on the other hand, have mixed opinions about the paid parking.
“It’s kind of sad. It’s always nice and refreshing to have free parking, but it’s the name of the game right? Houston’s got a parking issue or space issue, which is kind of surprising considering how big it is,” said Jessica Fisk.
“We use Uber, so I guess we’re going to be using that more often,” said Kody Leao.
Others say it’s a change they can deal with.
“I will search for the free spots. I do not pay for parking,” said Johnique Atkins. “If it frees up these outside spaces for people who just want to run a quick errand and don’t want to park in the garage, it’ll be ok as long as they keep the two hour parking in the garage.”
“It’s the convenience of it, so they’re taking that away from us. But we’ll continue to come,” said Ivone Bruno.
Rice Village Management says the paid parking will be enforced, but drivers will not get a city citation if they are caught with an expired meter.
A portion of the proceeds from the parking meters will benefit Roberts Elementary and Poe Elementary.