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By LAURA HALM6 News Reporter
KNOXVILLE (WATE) - Drivers beware. In a matter of days, if you want to park on Gay Street in downtown Knoxville, you could get a ticket because of newly enforced limited hours.
From 6 a.m. to midnight, drivers are limited to two hours of parking. The area includes Gay Street from Summit Hill Drive to Hill Avenue.
For almost two weeks, drivers have just been getting warnings, but starting October 1, if you leave your car for too long it will cost you $11.
Public Building Authority Lieutenant Joel Weeks calls Gay Street his office. He's on the street during the week enforcing the new parking restrictions. So far, only warnings have been issued.
"It's averaging probably less than 50 [warnings] a day. Some days even less than that," said Lieutenant Weeks.
Lieutenant Weeks says part of his job is giving drivers a heads up on Gay Street.
"I try to find the people if I can. If they're parking their car, I'll clue them in on what's going on, that there's going to be enforcement action from here on," he said.
The city says this change is to encourage turnover in those parking spaces in an effort to help downtown businesses.
Laurel Mountain Eatery owner Laura Heeke says the two-hour time limit has pros and cons. The limit is a help for her customers, but a headache when the restaurant does catering.
"So, we load up, we leave then we come back, we possibly load up again. But if we have a mark, and we're there again with that same mark, we get a ticket," added Heeke.
While there's still a learning curve, some are having to learn the hard way. Those drivers say a change on Gay Street may be a good idea.
"I think it's a good thing. The overall premise is a good thing, but I'll probably start to find somewhere else to park," said Justin Trammell, who recently received a parking ticket.
The PBA wants to remind people about the State Street Parking garage. Parking is free in all city garages after 6 p.m., and officials with PBA say the State Street Garage is underutilized.