Paying for parking on Galveston's seawall?

GALVESTON, TX The parking is all free right now, but soon everyone could have to pay to park along the seawall. It's a divisive issue, in some cases pitting neighbor against neighbor.

Dain Buck lives a block from the seawall, which he loves, but sometimes he says visitors cramp his style.

"On busy weekends, like Memorial Day weekend, they'll take up the whole side of our house and (a nearby) lot will be completely filled up with RVs and everything," Buck explained.

Now with the looming possibility of paid parking along the seawall, Buck is faced with one main concern.

"If they have paid parking there, it's going to overflow into our neighborhood," he explained.

The city's proposal, pending voter approval, would mean visitors would have to pay one dollar per hour to park along the seawall. The pay station would max out at eight hours. Another option is buying a yearly parking permit for $25.

The proposed plan would mean island visitor Mitch Peterson and his wife would have spent $2 for their leisurely afternoon bike ride.

"Not so bad, doesn't bother me," Peterson said.

The city would make an estimated $550,000 per year from the parking. A majority of the revenue would go into paying for improvements along the seawall, including lighting, bathrooms, showers and litter control. Those enhancements, Ashley Shriver says, are worth the hassles of paying to park.

"If you want to better our island and make major improvements for other people to come down and see what a great place this is to live, then that's one major solution for now," Shriver said.

A special election on the issue will be held May 14.

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