CHARLESTON, W.Va. - The new parking scheme along Virginia Street East in downtown Charleston will go into effect today, and city police officers are expecting little trouble because of the change.
Night parking along the north, or left hand side, of Virginia Street between Laidley and Hale streets will be eliminated today.
Parking will now be permitted along the south, or right hand side, of the street between Laidley and Capitol streets between 6 p.m. and 6 a.m., Assistant Mayor Rod Blackstone said.
Drivers will no longer be permitted to park on either side of the street between Capitol and Hale, Blackstone said.
The change will go into effect at 6 p.m., he said.
Charleston Police Chief Brent Webster said officers will have the right to tow any cars parked on the north side of the street tonight after 6 p.m. However, he hopes officers will be lenient with drivers until everyone is accustomed to the change.
"We normally try to honor a notice period and let people get used to the change," Webster said. "But if it's a hazard type situation we can definitely tow the car immediately."
However, Webster believes that officers will not immediately call for a tow truck unless the parked car becomes a hazard along the road.
"I don't want my officers just jumping right into towing cars on that side of the road," he said. "I think they (officers) will give people some time to adjust.
Webster also does not foresee any safety issues arising because of the parking change.
It could take some drivers a "week or two" to become accustomed to the new parking scheme along the downtown section of street, Webster said.
City public works crews will begin changing the signage along the street in the area today, said Gary Taylor, Public Works director.
"It'll be set up just like the north side of the street was," Taylor said.
Signage saying parking is permitted along the north side of the street between the hours of 6 p.m. and 6 a.m. will be placed at various spots along the street, he said.