TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (WIAT) — A controversial move by the city of Tuscaloosa removing parking spaces on the strip near the University of Alabama campus is upsetting some business owners.
The parking space removal is a temporary city plan to try to curb the spread of COVID-19.
Tracey Snider opposes what the city is doing because she says it is taking away twenty percent of customer business. She is the manager at Alabama Express. The store sells Alabama sports merchandise. Snider is worried this could become a permanent city parking regulation.
“I think it’s the uncertainty of not knowing how long this will last, we don’t know how long we are going to be giving up parking spaces for the lines of students to go to the bars,” Snider said. “We only have a limited amount of parking spaces out front and we rely on those parking spaces for our customers and the city taking away parking from us Thursday night, Friday and Saturday nights really hurts our customers and where they can park to come shop.”
The city has not said how long the parking regulation will last. Mayor Walt Maddox tells CBS 42 it is part of his plan to increase social distancing in front of bars and restaurants on the strip that will give pedestrian foot traffic more room to walk on the sidewalks.
“We are trying to create as much spacing as we can in an outdoor setting that will help us mitigate the spread of the coronavirus,” Maddox said. These are just steps we are taking again to try to do everything in our power to keep people safe.”
Snider is also concerned her store will lose even more business if the city continues the plan during Crimson Tide home games at Bryant-Denny stadium.
“I feel that the city could work better with the businesses on the strip and could work better with the bars and restaurants on the strip so we could all come up with a solution,” Snider said. “If this continues into the football season this will hurt our business.”
City officials tell CBS 42 they will evaluate the parking plan later this week and will discuss how to move forward after this upcoming weekend.