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Parking Spots Go Short-Term in North Old Woodward Lot

After the Gateway Montessori School at Birmingham's First Baptist Church complained there weren't enough parking for parents, the city commission imposed a 30-minute time limit on seven spots.

If you regularly park in the lot next to the North Old Woodward Parking Garage, you'll need to watch which spot you pick.

On Monday night, the City Commission approved imposing a 30-minute time limit on seven parking spaces along the south side of Parking Lot No. 5. The time limit would only be in effect between 8 a.m.-4 p.m. and be adjacent to the rear entrance to the First Baptist Church.

The issue was brought before the commission after administrators at the Gateway Montessori School, located inside the church, complained that there was a lack of parking available near the preschool during pick-up and drop-off time.

Currently, entrance to the parking lot is controlled by a mechanized gate and in general, Assistant City Engineer Paul Cousino said the city wants drivers to use the lot for long-term parking.

"In general, the city's approach has been to encourage short-term parking with higher turnover in the on-street metered parking spaces, and encourage long-term parkers to use the parking structures and surface lots," Cousino's report to the city commission reads.

However, a study of parking patterns in Parking Lot No. 5 revealed that most short trips — most of which were less than 30 minutes — took place around the preschool's drop-off (8 a.m.) and pick-up (noon and 3 p.m.) times.

The change could impact the city's ability to collect any revenue from those spaces, Cousino's report warned. With the first two hours free at the parking garage and lot, the spaces will require extra policing to ensure the 30-minute time limit is followed.

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