The lack of parking spaces in the wildly popular West 7th corridor, which has led to widespread towing of cars and lots of pissed off people, might be a thing of the past.
Beginning Thursday, Oct. 5, visitors to the many restaurants, bars, and retail outlets in the development will be allowed to park at nearby Farrington Field for $10. The parking lot will be open from 10pm to 3am, allowing people to park their cars in a secure place and walk across West Lancaster Avenue to West 7th.
“It is creating a centralized parking option for everybody,” said James Hoffman, owner of Varsity Tavern. “You don’t have to worry about getting towed or validated.”
Hoffman is a member of the West 7th Restaurant & Bar Association, a collection of two dozen bars and restaurants in the neighborhood. Members have been meeting in recent weeks with police, fire, school, and city officials, along with various neighborhood associations in the area, to discuss how to handle the parking problem.
Recently, a developer who owns large parking garages in the area angered many visitors after he began towing away the cars of anyone who parked there without immediately visiting one of that developer’s tenants and obtaining parking validation (“Valuing Customers,” Aug. 2).
The parking lot at Farrington Field will be managed by employees provided by the bar and restaurant group and will include security officers. Fort Worth police will provide two officers to help with moving pedestrian traffic across West Lancaster and into the West 7th area. Hoffman estimated that about 1,000 cars would use the parking lot each weekend.
“You pull in, pay your $10, and you are directed to a parking spot,” he said.
The entrance to the parking area is located near West Lancaster between the football stadium and Foch Street. The exit will be located farther south, near Crestline Road.
“We’re hoping that’s going to pull all the people searching for parking out of the” neighborhood, Hoffman said.
Money raised through parking fees will be used to pay for parking staff, with the remainder being split between the bar and restaurant association and the school district, Hoffman said.
The parking agreement is being done on a trial basis. The current lease agreement will end in January prior to the Fort Worth Stock Show & Rodeo, an event that has also relied on Farrington Field parking in the past. However, additional parking is currently being built near the Stock Show grounds that could offset the Farrington Field lot, Hoffman said.
West 7th Restaurant & Bar Association members hope to establish a friendly and mutually beneficial partnership with the school district to ensure that the lease is extended next year. Keeping the parking lot organized, clean, and trouble free will go a long way toward maintaining that relationship, Hoffman said.
Visitors to the West 7th area enjoy walking around and visiting numerous businesses. Removing the never-ending circling of cars that search in vain for street-side parking spots is expected to increase pedestrian safety, Hoffman said.
The financial benefits include the creation of up to 20 new part-time jobs, as well as up to six part-time jobs for off-duty police officers working security, Hoffman said.