City to eliminate hundreds of parking spots downtown

BIRMINGHAM, Ala (WIAT) — If you’ve ever struggled to find parking near the BJCC downtown, get ready to struggle even more. In just a few months the city will eliminate hundreds of parking spots near the BJCC meaning you may have to hike the next time you attend an event or function in that area. The reason? Because of the age of the I-20-59 overpass, ALDOT says it’s no longer safe for people to be parking under it.

This weekend several big events are being held there, many people did what they always do, they park there. However many people who spoke with WIAT 42 News say if they couldn’t find close parking and had to hike to their events they might think twice about coming to the BJCC.

And really it’s a common sight anytime there’s an event at the BJC. Drivers cruising up and down the aisles playing the parking spot game. If you’re lucky, like Josh Cheresnick, you get one of the coveted metered spots under the interstate just a few hundred feet from the front doors.

“What if that parking spot wasn’t there?” we ask? “We were going to be walking a long, long way,” says Cheresnick. “It’s tough. There’s not many spots left.”

More truer words have never been spoken because as of August 25th, all the underpass lots will be closed and the surrounding meters will be expired for good.

“That’s not a good idea,” says Jeff Bowman. He came to the BJCC for the men’s Gridiron Conference. “That’s really going to hurt the events here.”

Some think it will start a parking war and force drivers to be creative about finding a spot to stash their car.

“They’ll start parking on the sides of the road,” believes Blake Tippett. “Which will cause them to get towed or get a ticket.”

And with the sudden loss of several hundred spots, others may get frustrated trying to find a close one and just skip the event all together.

“What’s the farthest away you’d park before you’d say I’m just not going to go to an event?” we ask. “Probably about six blocks I’d say,” claims Tippett. “Probably about five or six, because after that there’s no sense in coming up here.”

“I wouldn’t want to walk very far,” claims Bowman. “Maybe a 1/2 mile or a 1/4 mile. Something like that.”

“And if you had to make a date walk? How far would she be walking?” we ask. “Oh she wouldn’t be walking very far,” says Bowman. “I’d let her out and then you would have to come back and find her.”

At this time city officials have not released a contingency plan for where people will now be parking when they go to events at the BJCC and downtown.

Copyright 2014 WIAT 42 News

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