San Antonio

‘A direct, deliberate assault’: Business owners furious over proposed parking permit program

A pilot program to unravel the parking situation close to the St. Mary’s Strip is a proposed resolution that will likely be up for dialogue this weekend.

SAN ANTONIO — For years, Tobin Hill residents voiced their issues in regards to the crime, noise and parking issues of their neighborhood.

They declare all of it stems from bars and eating places alongside the St. Mary’s Strip.

Bar owners say they’re annoyed, too. Now, a brand new proposed pilot program to unravel the parking situation is including to the stress of protecting their business alive.

“It feels like a direct, deliberate attack on nightlife and hospitality,” stated Aaron Peña, proprietor of The Squeezebox.

Peña says he, together with 20+ business owners alongside North St. Mary’s, are getting ready for an additional battle to maintain doorways open.

“We’re dealing with obstacle after obstacle,” stated Peña. “This is poorly timed, so we need to get this off the table.”

Peña is considered one of many bar owners who will likely be affected by the town’s new Overnight Residential Permit Parking Program (ORPP) which might grant avenue parking solely to residents in designated areas from 10 p.m. to six a.m.

Notice of the proposed pilot program was despatched to Peña in an e-mail Monday.

Peña says if this pilot involves fruition, it should damage his business.

“I can’t go on the side streets and park. So what are the solutions? Are you gonna park me 30 minutes away and shuttle me down here? It’s not feasible. It’s not logical, and it’s gonna kill small businesses like mine,” he defined.

Peña says there are different issues like ongoing building and a brand new noise ordinance which might be making issues worse. Some business owners, he says, reported dropping as much as $15,000 a month.

“I want this to be discussed when construction is over because until that street is fixed, we don’t know what the world looks like for us,” stated Peña, who’s been vocal on social media in regards to the proposed parking permit program.

Councilman Mario Bravo, who presides over District 1 and the St. Mary’s Strip, has met with neighbors and bar owners prior to now to give you options. Peña says his final dialog with Bravo was months in the past, discussing the outcomes of a parking examine. 

“The data that was released from that parking study only said that the number of cars that drive up and down the street, the days that they’re coming, the time of night they’re coming. It said nothing about this proposed parking program for residents,” stated Peña.

The building which entails putting in new utilities, lighting, sidewalks and expanded roads alongside N. St. Mary’s is about to be full in August 2024.

RELATED: ‘They urinate in my yard’: St. Mary’s Strip visitors examine goals to deal with issues of parking and crime

Alfonso Robalin, the Interim President of the Tobin Hill Association, says residents are having a troublesome time, too.

He says neighbors need to cope with violence, lewd conduct and trash exterior their properties.

“Fights, defecation, sex acts all in the front yards…most importantly gunshots,” stated Robalin. “I think folks are looking for a solution. This [pilot] may be a solution or part of a solution, so that’s the hope.”

There’s a meeting Saturday to debate the pilot in-detail, with District 1 metropolis leaders current to answer any questions.

“We want the businesses to be successful. We want the residents to have peace. We think those two things can coexist. It’s gonna be difficult and there’s gonna have to be some give and take on both ends,” stated Robalin. “Change is going to be difficult for residents as well as the businesses. Yes, I do feel for them.”

Saturday’s meeting is at 10 a.m. at St. Sophia Greek Orthodox Church on N. St. Mary’s. Residents and business owners are inspired to offer their opinion earlier than metropolis council votes on the proposed pilot program subsequent Thursday.

If accepted, the parking permits will go into impact inside 30 days and will likely be provided to residents freed from cost.

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