Paying to park will soon be reality in Oxford

(WMC-TV) - If you want to shop or eat along Oxford's Square, soon you're going to have to pay to park.

The controversial proposal from the parking commission is the fast track.

Finding a parking spot on the Oxford square can be a headache, so to manage the limited spaces the new kiosks will likely be in place by August, when you'll have to start paying.

"I think folks will be interested to really see how it works," said Oxford Parking Commission member Jeff Triplette.

The new parking kiosks will release premium downtown spots for a fee.

"We're probably going to be recommending one dollar an hour," Triplette said.

The machines ask patrons to estimate how long they plan to stay, and then ask for payment.

You can swipe debit and credit cards, but if you want to pay cash- keep your dollar bills. The machines only accept change.

You can buy more time with your cell phone, one of the many features.

"They're solar powered in that they charge a battery and in the machine itself there's no wiring that will go anywhere you just bolt them into the concrete," Triplette said.

Each parking kiosk can manage 16 parking spaces, so commission can place them strategically along the Oxford square without them being an eyesore for visitors.

If you don't want to pay, parking lots just off the square will still be free. And if you're on the Ole Miss campus, you can even hitch a ride to avoid the fee.

"For the students and staff at the university, there's going to be a lunch time shuttle that runs every 10 to 15 minute. It will be free to them to come to downtown," Triplette said.

Money from the machines will go to a fund so the town can look into building a parking garage or buying additional lots.

Triplette understands that paid parking is controversial, but thinks the plan will be better for the town in the long run.

"Some like it, some don't. I think at the end of the day what we're trying to do is give everybody an opportunity to find a spot on the square," said Triplette.

The Board of Alderman are expected to vote on the plan June 5th and if all goes through, paid kiosks will be in place by August 1st.

If you'd like to take a look at a closer map that shows proposed paid and free parking, click on the map here. Red and green areas will cost money and the yellow zones will remain free.

Click here to see the proposed parking map.

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