Charleston looks into replacing metered parking with valet spots downtown

CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - Charleston Police Chief Greg Mullen met with restaurant owners and valet company officials Wednesday to talk about a six-month trial plan the city wants to start regarding valet parking.

The city's plan is to replace metered parking with valet spots. This will happen between 6 and 12 p.m. and occur at three spots in the city.

"To improve the experience for folks that want to come downtown and experience of all the restaurants," Mullen said.

Right now some restaurants offer valet parking to their customers. Brett McKee owns several establishments that use valet parking.

"For Charleston to be known as an entire city that uses valet parking is a great idea," McKee said.

The areas that would be offered the valet service are on King Street between John and Radcliffe Streets. The corner of East Bay and Cone Street and on Broad Street. City officials said they will only use metered and garage spaces that are normally vacant.

So, this plan won't take spots away from those who don't valet. Restaurant owners said their biggest concern is that there won't be enough spaces to accommodate everyone.

"If we can put a cap on what landlords charge for off street parking at night," Mullen said. "The idea is good but how it's going to happen is a mystery to me."

Mullen added that the city will take time in putting this plan together and that he hopes suggestions from restaurant owners and valet officials will bring more people but less traffic to the downtown area.

The city may also add some taxi staging areas downtown to make it easier to find a taxi.

City leaders said one of the most common complaints is from riders who can't find a taxi after midnight.

If the plan is put in place restaurant owners will have the option to sign up with the new service.

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