This weekend, thousands of University of Tennessee students new to Knoxville will be moving into apartments and dormitories. The City of Knoxville and Public Building Authority (PBA) officials welcome the students and remind them and their parents of new City parking enforcement regulations that took effect July 1.
As part of a comprehensive approach to managing public parking in downtown and around Cumberland Avenue, the City currently is installing more than 1,000 new parking meters, adjusting rates for on-street and City garage parking, and increasing parking enforcement. The goal is to create more turnover of on-street parking spaces in high-demand areas, which benefits merchants and restaurant owners.
Meanwhile, here’s a Q&A to help newcomers to Knoxville better understand the dos and don’ts on parking on City streets in the Cumberland District and in downtown:
QUESTION: How and where is parking enforced by the City of Knoxville near the UT campus?
ANSWER: City parking enforcement in the Cumberland District includes White and Lake avenues; Melrose Place; and Mountcastle, 17th, 18th, 19th, 20th, 21st and 22nd streets. Since July 1, PBA has assigned four PBA officers to handle parking enforcement in the Cumberland Avenue area.
PBA officers also enforce 30-minute limits for commercial vehicles only to park in designated commercial loading zones, and they also will be ticketing drivers who park vehicles illegally on sidewalks or in other non-designated areas.
QUESTION: How much does it cost to park at a metered on-street space? What are the hours of operation, when I’m subject to getting a parking ticket?
ANSWER: As the new meters are installed, the new rate for parking in an on-street metered space is uniformly $1.50 an hour. Vehicles typically can be parked for up to two hours at a time.
Hours of operation in the Cumberland District are 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays. (The same hours are in effect downtown, except on Gay Street and around Market Square; on those streets, enforcement hours extend til 11 p.m.)
QUESTION: If I’m downtown, isn’t it cheaper to park in a City-owned garage?
ANSWER: The downtown City garage rate is $1 an hour – that’s 50 cents an hour less than metered on-street rates. Plus, there’s no time limit. Parking in City-owned garages will remain free on weekends and upon entry after 6 p.m. on weekdays.
QUESTION: If I get a parking ticket, how much would I have to pay? Can I pay it online? What if I think the ticket is undeserved and I want to talk with someone in City Court?
ANSWER: The smallest fee, for a meter violation, starts at $11. But the penalties vary depending on the violation. Parking in a space reserved for a disabled driver, for example, is punishable by a $50 fine.
Anyone wishing to pay a ticket for a traffic meter violation or other parking violation can do so online at http://www.knoxvilletn.gov/payticket. Or contact City Court at 865-215-7474 or visit the court in the Safety Building, 800 Howard Baker Jr. Ave.
QUESTION: What do I do if the Knoxville Police Department has authorized my vehicle to be towed for illegally parking in a commercial zone or a fire lane?
ANSWER: Vehicles that are towed are taken to the City’s Vehicle Impoundment Lot on Vice Mayor Jack Sharp Road in East Knoxville. The contact number for the lot is 865-215-6215.
To retrieve a vehicle from the Impoundment Lot, you’ll need a government-issued photo ID, a licensed driver, and proof of ownership. The Impoundment Lot is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, but vehicles are only released between 8 a.m. and midnight. Impound fees may be paid with cash, a Mastercard or VISA credit card, a debit card with a VISA emblem, a company check, a cashier’s check or a money order.
QUESTION: I’m new to town and I see red trolley buses around downtown and near UT. Really – I can park and ride for free?
ANSWER: The City’s transit service, Knoxville Area Transit, operates three free trolley routes, Mondays to Thursdays until 8 p.m. (and until 10 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays).
The Orange Line serves the UT, University Commons and World’s Fair Park areas, with a trolley rolling by every 15 minutes.
The Green Line serves the Old City, Market Square and Gay Street, with a trolley rolling by every 10 minutes.
The Blue Line is KAT’s Waterfront Connection, linking the Civic Coliseum parking garage to downtown and the City County Building, returning via Hill Avenue. A trolley rolls by every 7 minutes on weekdays (every 15 minutes on Saturdays), offering a direct connection on to UT campus for residents east of downtown or for parkers at the Coliseum.
QUESTION: I’m a parent, and I’m moving my child into student housing off Cumberland Avenue this weekend. Can I unload the vehicle and then go park somewhere?
ANSWER: There’s a Fort Sanders Regional Medical Center surface parking lot at 19th Street and White Avenue, the most eastern of a series of parking lots in that block. It’s available to UT parkers and the general public after 6 p.m. weeknights and on weekends. To be sure you’re parking in the right place, pay attention to the posted signs on the lots – the signs will indicate if you’re in the hospital’s lot or a non-public tow-away lot.