Snider Plaza is known for its long-standing businesses and, for city officials, as a hot spot for parking enforcement.
“The two big (parking enforcement hotspots) are Snider Plaza and the ‘Miracle Mile,’” said Bill Mathes, University Park’s assistant police chief for the operations division. The Miracle Mile is a section of Lovers Lane near the North Dallas Tollway.
Snider Plaza, which opened in 1927 at the corner of Hillcrest Avenue and Lovers Lane, has roughly 350 timed spaces, most of which are for two hours, in the plaza and streets adjacent to it, as well as about 15 handicapped spaces.
Most businesses there also have some designated employee parking in the rear of the stores through the alley. Still, Max Fuqua, of Plaza Health Foods, complained that too many workers use customer parking regularly.
“This is one of the main reasons Snider Plaza parking is so bad: Employees do not use the alternatives available to them.” -Max Fuqua.
Mathes said the city has three dedicated parking enforcement officers.
In 2019, the police department issued 228 overtime parking violations, 18 for parking and failing to display a handicapped placard, five for blocking a handicapped access lane, four for parking in a no-parking zone, one for parking and blocking an alley, one for parking facing traffic, and one for an expired handicapped placard.
He said the department uses cameras that read license plates and mark the location of vehicles so their computer system can alert parking enforcement officers if the vehicles moved within their designated time and issue citations if they haven’t.
“We’ve had the GPS-equipped vehicle for a long time, about 12 years,” Mathes said. “I would say (parking) has become a bit more of an issue as more people come to the Metroplex.”
In the 2008 master plan, the city worked to find ideas to address parking in Snider Plaza, among other issues, University Park City Manager Robbie Corder said.
He said the study estimated the center is short between 120 and 700 parking spaces.
“Every time we’ve looked at Snider Plaza, parking is a dominant issue that rises to the discussion,” Corder said.
One option for adding more parking spaces was working with private property owners in the area to provide more spaces for Snider Plaza employees.
To that end, the city council approved a parking license agreement with SPC Park Plaza Partners in November to allow Snider Plaza tenants to use spaces, at a discounted rate, in the parking garage at Hilltop Plaza, at the south end of Snider Plaza.
The garage opened in October, and the public was allowed to use it for free for one hour, then $3 per hour after that. SPC Park Plaza Partners offered the use of 50 spaces for 65 cents per hour.