It’s no secret it’s getting harder to find a parking space on Main Street, especially if you just need to make a quick in-and-out trip somewhere.
You need to duck in to Drake’s to grab your chicken sandwich, or you’ve got a dress waiting at His and Hers tailor, or you just want to grab a few bucks from the ATM.
“The biggest complaint I get from my customers is parking,” Thomasina Reynolds, owner of His and Her’s Tailoring Shop, has told The State in the past. People say to her, “I went around the block five times!”
So maybe you just park in the median. You’ve seen other people do it, right?
Is that OK?
The short answer: No. Columbia laws officially don’t allow parking in the median.
Sure, you might get lucky and get by with it. A drive down Main Street at dinnertime on a recent weeknight found cars parked on the raised brick median in nearly every block between the State House and Blanding Street.
But those cars are risking a ticket.
If you get caught, it’ll cost you $20.
But if you’re driving a delivery truck or have a valid loading zone permit, the median is fair game. Parking there is intended for actively loading and unloading goods, the city says.
The city of Columbia “acknowledges that the use of the median on Main has presented challenges for motorists and parkers alike,” its parking services department says, and it is “in the process of reviewing our policies and procedures regarding this issue.”