The days of free street parking are coming to an end in the popular West 7th Street area.
By Thursday, new parking meters will be active in the popular entertainment district, meaning you’ll have to pay to park on the street from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Several pay surface lots are also available.
If you’re using one of the Crockett Row garages, you can still get free parking with validation from one of the shops or restaurants in that development. Be warned — patrons risk being towed if they visit other bars or restaurants in the area.
While some may deem the parking meters as a necessity in the booming West 7th corridor, one of the oldest stand-alone businesses isn’t happy about it.
Perry Tong, owner of Pop’s Safari Room, said he’s already seen his business drop 20 percent from all of the parking headaches in the area. He has a small parking lot but if it’s full, his customers for his cigar lounge have to find somewhere else to park.
Now, with the meters going into effect, he expects to see business drop another 5 percent.
“Our customers are small retail customers — they come in and stay 30 minutes or an hour,” Tong said. ‘What’s going to happen is they’re going to a liquor store that has a parking lot and they don’t have to worry about paying any fees or getting a parking ticket.”
Tong posted on his website that he would be hosting a meeting in September to “discuss the parking meters and next City Council election.”
From 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., parking will cost the rate will be $1 per hour. The price increases to $2.50 an hour from 4 to 10 p.m. After 10 p.m., street parking is free.
But parking rates can be adjusted by 25 cents per hour on a weekly basis based on demand. The maximum that can be charged is $4.50 an hour; the minimum is $1 per hour.
This will make Fort Worth the first Texas city to have a variable-rate structure for street parking.
A similar structure has been used in places like Seattle, New York, San Francisco and Boston, according to the city.
For those not wanting to hassle with meters, parking will also be available at the Fort Worth school district’s Farrington Field., at the corner of University Drive and Lancaster Avenue.
The city has other plans scheduled for the area. One-way streets went into effect earlier this summer. Sidewalk improvements are scheduled to begin in November. Next spring, the DASH circulator bus will connect Currie Street to downtown destinations and the Cultural District.
Fort Worth police also assigned extra officers to the area this summer for a four-month trial.