These parking spots under I-20/59 near the BJCC will no longer be an option in August. Source: WBRC video
BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) -
If you think parking is bad at the BJCC is bad now, it's about to get worse and more costly. By August, the metered parking spaces under I-20/59 will no longer be an option.
ALDOT cites concern for the public's safety as the reason they are ending a 40-year agreement to allow parking beneath the interstate.
Forty years ago, ALDOT and the City of Birmingham entered into an agreement to allow the
right of ways to be used for public parking. But the agreement says
either side could end the agreement with 90 days notice, which is now what ALDOT is doing.
Cindy Collins works at the Jefferson County Criminal Justice Center and for years she parked her car in a free spot under the I-20/59 bridge, until one day she learned it was actually damaging her car.
"I had it cleaned by a detail and he got all over me about how there were 20 to 30 dings in my car. It took the black paint off of my car," she said.
Those dings, she says, came from debris falling from the bridge. Now she parks in a nearby parking deck for $20 a month.
"It's nice to park where it's free, but I had to go back and pay because it was messing up my car," Collins said.
Collins said she agrees with the decision to close the parking spots.
"This is a safety issue," Birmingham city councilor Kim Rafferty reinforced. Rafferty is over the council's transportation committee and agrees the parking spaces should be eliminated.
"The concern I have is that there has not been public discussion on it," she said.
Rafferty said she feels all the parties involved should have met and come forward to the public in a united front as a way if dispelling rumors.
But while she supports the measure, Mitch Campbell doesn't.
"It's disappointing," Campbell said. He is working an expo at the BJCC this weekend and parked under the bridge deck as he often does because it's so convenient. He feels losing the spots will hurt the city from a financial standpoint.
"Because its beneficial to a lot of people. Concerts down here, they can bring in lots of people. To take out those spots, you're losing business and losing money," Campbell added
Tad Snider, the executive director of the BJCC says they have over 5,000 spaces in either a parking deck or lot immediately adjacent to the complex. He says they will be able to accommodate visitors. Their job now is to educate the public of those options.