No such thing as a parking shortage in Rice Village, study says

HOUSTON (KTRK) -- You may be shocked to find out Rice Village has plenty of parking. It is known as one of Houston's most congested hangouts, but on any given day there are thousands of available spots. You just have to keep an open mind.

"Normally I have to drive around and circle back and hope to find someone leaving," driver Kyle Judd told us.

Business owners like Kim Ethridge say her customers complain, too.

"It's very difficult, they have to pace and circle around three or four times before they find a spot," she said.

Dr. Kyle Shelton of Rice University's Kinder Institute says the parking shortage in Rice Village is a myth. He took an inventory of available spaces at seven different times, across three different days, and at no time were there fewer than 1000 open spaces.

"We don't need another 400 spot garage, we don't need to waste the resources and the time to do that," Dr. Shelton says.

Dr. Shelton offered three different tips for drivers. First, save time by planning to park down the street. You'll waste more time waiting for a closer space to free up.

"The open spaces, or at least the low occupancy spaces even on the street are an eight or a quarter of a mile away from the central places is a walkable distance," Dr. Shelton says.

Don't want to walk? There's another alternative. We found dozens of open parking spaces right here on the roof.

And don't forget to look for the signs to make sure you are parked legally. The Village provides a patchwork of surface parking lot options, but they are regulated by dozens of different private owners, as well as the city.

"What is a problem is the fear you have is you will have parked in a place where you will be towed," shopper Mary Ann Ryerson told us.

We found three parking areas were less than 30% full during the study: The 2400 Times Rooftop parking, The Village Arcade Rooftop Lot, and street parking along Bolsover and Dunstan, perpendicular to Kirby.

So next time you are dueling another driver for a spot, remember there are plenty to go around.
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