Image Credit: Gazette-Mail
Most of us enjoy a night or two out of the week to step back from the craziness of work to enjoy the beauty of downtown Charleston, but what most of us don’t enjoy is the hassle of parking. Uggg…just the word parking makes me cringe.
Whether you are trying to park in a garage or at a meter, it feels like you are driving around in circles or you end up dropping money that could of bought you something better…like a coffee, or a sandwich from Groucho’s, or a nice bar of soap from Lush…you get the point.
But before you take on the struggles of parking in downtown Charleston, here are some tips and tricks that could help save you some time and hassle.
Remember the last time you went out to meet a bunch of friends for a Thursday night dinner, and after driving around for what seems like forever, you finally find a parking spot! But, (don’t get too excited) it’s a change meter and you don’t have any change. What are you supposed to do? Well, you’re in luck!
You might not know this, but the City of Charleston sells a “Smartcard” that works on all meters located in the downtown area. This is a prepaid card that can be bought and reloaded at two different places: The Visitors Center or The City of Charleston Department of Revenue Collections – Parking Division. Never worry if you put too much money on the “Smartcard” because you have the ability to refund the leftover money back to you. These cards cost a one time $5 fee, and can hold up to a $300 value for parking. Say whhaaaaa?
For those of you who do happen to carry around change- you’re in luck too. There are two different ways to go about using change meters in Downtown Charleston. The first way is called a “Pay and Display” parking meter. Once you pay, take the ticket that has been printed out with the allotted parking time and display it on the dashboard of your car. By doing this, you are ensuring peace of mind while you enjoy your time downtown.
The second option is a regular change meter. Remember, each meter downtown has a different time limit on them. Some have two hour time limits, spots painted red are for 15 minute parking intervals, and other parking spots become available at 9 a.m. and last until 6 p.m. But, regardless if you want to “pay and display” or if you are going to use a regular meter, remember to check the back of your parking meter just to make sure you have appropriate parking place for you day in Charleston. (Tip- If you are unsure if your parking meter works or not, put a nickel or a dime into it so you don’t have to waste precious quarters!)
Parking garages in high traffic places can be a living nightmare, but when push comes to shove, sometimes it’s your only option. To have the best experience possible while parking in a garage in downtown Charleston, make sure before you venture out, you have cash AND a card in order to pay for parking. Some garages take strictly cash, and others take card. So to be on the safe side of things, be prepared and have both!
If your meter happens to be broken, please call and report it to 843-724-7375 or take a quick minute and go onto the Citizen Support Center and fill out a short document.