Parking on Washington Street to be limited to two hours

Parking on Washington, Main, and Church Streets is now restricted to two-hour time slots. 

DALLAS — Parking on Washington Street from Main Street west to Church Street will soon be restricted to two hours.

On July 15, the Dallas City Council voted to impose a two-hour restriction on parking on the south side of Washington Street and made two parking spots in front of Dallas City Cleaners 15-minute parking.

Currently the south side has no time restriction, which means cars can be parked up to 72 hours, per the city’s code. The north side of the block has a two-hour limit on parking.

Dallas Police Chief Tom Simpson said businesses on the block had different perspectives on the parking situation on the block. Tim’s Automotive, on the north side of the block, often has to park customers’ cars on the street, and move them every two hours if the city is enforcing parking restrictions.

Simpson said the business would have preferred no time restriction, so employees wouldn’t have to stop work to move cars. He said owners at Jake’s Garage agreed, saying employees could park on the street and leave more room in the lot for customers’ vehicles.

Owners of Washington Street Steakhouse & Pub, across the street from Tim’s, had the opposite view. He said the lack of restriction meant that cars would be parked on the street in front of the restaurant for hours, cutting down on space for restaurant patrons.

Councilor Jackie Lawson asked why the cleaners needed two spots at 15 minutes. Simpson said owner Amy Houghtaling requested the change on those two spots.

“She just asked for those, probably because there are already two there,” Simpson said. “It’s not unusual to see two cars parked there, but right now what we typically see is two cars parked there, and, in her words, they are across the street eating, and her customers can’t park there.”

Simpson said it is his recommendation that the spots be switched to 15 minutes, which the council approved unanimously.

The vote on the time change for the rest of the block was split.

“I would like to see matching, whatever we do, on both sides of the streets,” Lawson said. “I would like to make the motion to make it two hours on both sides of the street so it’s fair and equitable for everyone.”

If her motion passed, city staff would prepare a resolution for approval at the council’s Aug. 5 meeting.

Simpson said he didn’t have a recommendation for the council on time restrictions.

“Frankly, there’s valid arguments on both sides of it,” he said. “It’s strictly a policy decision.”

Simpson warned that if the council chose timed parking, people who need to park their cars longer than two hours would be pushed onto side streets.

“If the south side is two hours, you are going to see more parking pushed out on to Church Street,” he said.

The motion was approved 6-2, with councilors Michael Schilling and Jennie Rummell voting no.

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