UP Continues Snider Plaza Parking Program

The city of University Park recently approved extending a parking program allowing Snider Plaza employees from Daniel Avenue to Rosedale Avenue access to the Hilltop Plaza parking garage for six months or until construction begins on street and sidewalk work in the shopping center.

The city initially entered the lease agreement with Hilltop Plaza, allowing Snider Plaza tenants to use 50 spaces in the parking garage at Hilltop Plaza at a discounted rate — 65 cents per hour – in 2019 and later implemented a parking program to begin using the leased spaces in a phased approach. In April 2021, an amendment was approved to give the city access to an additional 50 spaces – a total of 100 – in Hilltop Plaza at the same discounted rate. The city council approved expanding the parking program to allow businesses in Snider Plaza, from Daniel to Rosedale, access to the parking garage, at no cost to them, for a period of six months in October 2022, and the program was renewed for another six months in April of 2023. 

University Park special projects coordinator Amanda Hartwick said from April 2021 to August of this year, parking expenses amounted to $105,235, about 40% of which was accrued between May 2021 and May 2022. She said the anticipated cost to continue the program is $42,000.

Sims Bradish also discussed the potential for the Hilltop Plaza garage and a lot planned for property the city acquired on Rankin.  

A survey of Snider Plaza employees by merchants found 32% of employees park in the plaza, 30% in private spaces behind stores, 27% in the surrounding neighborhood, and 11% in the Hilltop garage. 

Sims-Bradish said city officials’ plan for the Rankin property is to use it as a surface parking lot with 53 spaces but initially to use it as a construction staging area during work in the plaza. 

Sims-Bradish estimated it would cost about $600,000 to turn the Rankin property into a parking lot. 

Susan Lewis of Logos Bookstore in Snider Plaza said she remains concerned about parking in the shopping center and wants the city to prioritize creating additional parking before moving forward with other plans there. 

“While a Snider Plaza Task Force sounds like a great idea, still, the overarching problem is we need additional parking that needs to be created first and foremost before moving forward with any other plans,” Lewis said. 

Others called for increased enforcement of the parking limits in place in Snider Plaza.

“We have a system of trying to force people into a garage, and you’re giving them free parking on the street,” Max Fuqua of Plaza Health Foods said. “We need to make the street parking harder and harder to cheat and better enforcement.” 

The city of University Park reported 301 citations issued in Snider Plaza for parking in a spot over the two-hour limit in 2022, compared to 96 in 2021.

“I do think it’s a partnership,” said Mayor Pro Tem Elizabeth Farley of parking enforcement. 

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Rachel Snyder

Rachel Snyder, former deputy editor at People Newspapers, joined the staff in 2019, returning to her native Dallas-Fort Worth after starting her career at community newspapers in Oklahoma. One of her stories won first place in its category in the Oklahoma Press Association’s Better Newspaper Contest in 2018. She’s a fan of puns and community journalism, not necessarily in that order.

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