Parking Meters Sprout in Rice Village for February Switchup

Rice Village parking meters, Morningside Dr. at University Blvd., Rice Village, Houston, 77005

The latest edits to the Rice Village area’s look include the installation of the above parking meters for the spaces along Morningside Dr., as captured by a reader this morning. The Rice Village District folks announced in January that the formerly free spots around shopping complex will become pay spots in February. There will still be free parking in the area, for those who watch the clock: parking in the garage between Morningside and Kelvin St. and on the rooftop lot on across Kelvin will be free for the first 2 hours.

The changes appear to fall in line with some of the suggestions made in a 2015 Kinder Institute report on the area’s parking congestion and access inefficiencies; the authors noted at the time that the shopping district always had at least 1,000 unused parking spots even at times when parking seemed hardest to find (like during the peak of the weekday lunch rush).

The to-be-metered zones are marked in light blue in the map below; those zones include the spaces around the former Village Arcade structures between Kirby Dr. and Morningside along University, as well as parts of Times and Rice boulevards and parts of Amherst St.:


Rice Village parking meter map, Rice Village, Houston, 77005

Images: Matthew Landry (photo), Rice Village District (map), Trademark (rendering)

Spot Spotting

34 Comment

  • I welcome this… but are those old school coin operated ones? Someone please tell me no.

  • Wait, so now I think I totally misunderstood where the meters were going to go, when I read the previous article about this. So — street parking is still free? And the meters are in the parking lots themselves? As a Southerner, all I can say is, “Well, bless their hearts!”

  • They should’ve just left the parking alone. There was plenty of parking there, don’t think I ever spent more than a few minutes finding a spot.

    Or if they really wanted pay parking, they should’ve used pay and display machines (like City of Houston uses). The installation would’ve been far cheaper and less cluttered-looking.

    Hopefully street parking is still free?

  • What a bad for business idea.

  • Welp, they lost my business, as a Houstonian I refuse to pay for parking on moral grounds. (Or walk more than a few feet from said free parking)

  • more taxes…..

  • Great, can’t wait for the parking enforcement guys on their segways to start rollin around the village. Sounds just like a means of acquiring additional revenue to me. It isn’t like the major demographic in the vicinity is short on cash anyway.

  • Always nickel and diming everyone.

  • If those are coin operated, no one will have any trouble finding a spot from now on. Then again, I can just go a few minutes down Bissonnet, Kirby or Holcombe and find any number of locations with free parking. As for the rooftop parking, I worked in the area for 7 years with frequent trips there before I knew it existed. Major signage is needed but it’s also tough to get in and out of if you drive anything bigger than a compact car. The spacing is tight so you’ll often find people parked way over the line or just outright in several spots. I think that takes care of about 1/2 of your 1,000 spaces number.

  • Parking meters on private property? Who patrols them? What is their authority?

  • @James Glassman – their property, their rules. As long as the rules are posted, they can do whatever they like on their property. If the posted rule says you get towed 2 minutes after expiry, then you better get back to your car. My wife parked in a lot Downtown that had a sign that overstays are $50. She overstayed, and we had to pay the $50. There’s an ordinance on this if you want to look it up.

  • Probably sponsored by the tow trucks. Horrible idea for the retailers.

  • Seems like the Rice Village Business Alliance only took the worst parts of the Kinder Report and concurrently demotivated Shoppers and cost businesses revenues alike. Instead of testing a variety of ideas, the Rice Village business opted for the horse and buggy, low intellect approach. No valet service, no blocking off areas and just aligning with something like a Harris County Toll Tags to capture access fees like the London biz district, no premium access to only certain areas without burn an annual, monthly, weekly or other Parking permit. Geez – there were so many better things to consider and attempt first. Parking meters, what an intriguing solution. I’ll never contribute to this failed solution.

  • This makes no sense. The meters are on private property? You can’t give a ticket and you can’t legally tow without the city of Houston required signage. So, what is the point of it?

  • @the kid
    No, there’s nothing illegal about charging for parking. If you don’t pay and you’re on someone’s pay-to-park parking lot, they really can tow you.
    No one said that they’re city-run meters.

  • Full disclosure: I’m not affected by this because I rarely park my car in Rice Village.
    That said, I’m struck by the sense of entitlement among the comments here. Having to pay for parking is neither a hardship nor an egregious scheme to make money. Instead—like toll lanes on I-10, traffic lights on the Allen Parkway, and that inconvenient rule that you shouldn’t run a red light (conveniently unenforced in Houston)—it’s a norm of urban life.

  • Commonsense, I thought you lived in the woodlands? Are you for serious that you drove down to rice village to go shopping? I don’t think that’s likely.
    As a consumer who lives in the area, why not build a nice big parking garage and increase the rent for people who want to operate a business there?
    as a consumer, I’d rather pay more for an item and have easy parking than have to pay to park, then have to remember when I parked.
    at least the current garage access is still free within 2 hours. not ideal, but it may keep me shopping there.
    I’ll probably just opt for other shopping areas that don’t charge for parking though.

  • I hope all of y’all stop shopping in Rice Village and the economic collapse will bring back an XXX movie theater to the area.

  • Is this any different than trying to illegally park in a parking garage without paying?

  • I always found the “parking for ________ customers only” signs around there most annoying. If you want to visit more than one business, you could be moving your car from one designated space to another for businesses that are next door to each other! Nice area, but I can’t think of a less customer-friendly place to park – and I park daily in a Galleria garage.

  • I agree with the comments that this change will likely backfire and hurt the retail tenants (and to a lesser extent, the restaurants/bars) in Rice Village. Every other recent commercial development in Houston, even upscale/high-density ones like City Center and the River Oaks District, has gone out of its way to provide ample free and time-unlimited parking for shoppers. Why would you want your customers to run back to their car to feed meters, or take off before hitting their two-hour free parking limit, instead of lingering to shop and explore?

  • Boy, the NIMBY crowd is in full effect today in the comments section….

  • The idea is to keep turnover of some spots in front of business high so people can dash in and out as they like without circling for too long. I’ve avoided popping into a store at the Village after work because I know what a cluster it will be to park. There will still be free parking on streets or 2 hours for free in the garage…the point wasn’t to get rid of ALL free parking. You can also pay to park in the garage for as long as you like–same as it has been for the past decade.

    Some of the money generated from the meters will go to Poe Elementary School PTA and the Spark Park at Roberts Elementary School. As an actual a resident of this neighborhood (with a kid attending one of these schools), I have no problem with these changes. I don’t expect free parking in the city, and if I’m going out for dinner, I’m ubering anyways.

    BTW: “Exploring” a shopping center sounds like torture.

  • If prime parking spots don’t have sufficient vacancies to encourage quick in-and-out visits, then charging for them (price as rationing tool) is appropriate. There are other ways to do it, like strictly enforcing a short term time limit, but those also generate negative reaction from some members of the public. The key is to have free or low-cost off-street (or non-prime frontage) parking facilities close by.
    As Houston densifies and land becomes more expensive, expect more of this, at least until autonomous cars start to obviate the need or Uber becomes the norm for all travel.
    Funny how many complainers say how they go to malls and commercial districts where free parking is provided, yet those areas also get tons of complaints about…parking. It seems that nothing less than Walmart-style free parking lots in front of every single destination are acceptable for some people – and even then they complain when the destination is busy and requires more than a 20-second walk into the building.

  • I’m not opposed to paid parking in principle, but I have three issues with this implementation. First, I maintain that parking wasn’t limited enough to require it. I lived next to the village for seven years, and I never had to spend more than a few minutes finding a parking spot, and once I was parked, I could walk all around Rice Village, checking out different shops, etc without worrying about moving may car or feeding the meter. Second, this is a complicated implementation. Rather than one pay-and-display machine for every 30 or so spots, it looks like they have one meter for every single spot. Lots of extra capital and operating costs – how much money left over for the school and park once these are paid? Not to mention visual clutter. Thirdly – no longer any option for parking that is both free and time-unlimited, except for whatever streets nearby that don’t require resident permits (but undoubtedly will soon). So it is not only Village shoppers who will be inconvenienced, but also residents of nearby neighborhoods.

    Oh well…I only visit Rice Village 1-2x a year these days anyways, so the impact on me personally will be minimal.

  • Jay – So instead of giving ticket to people like if it were public property, they automatically tow if you go over your time limit? Nice… -rolling eyes-

  • One of the shop owners said that the city also plans to add meters to the streets soon.

    At least when you parked in the Village arcade garage the shop owners could validate your parking – I wonder how long they’ll keep that around.

  • Charging for parking is their business, and I’m not opposed to paying if it turns the spaces faster. However, installing rows and rows of single meters that require coins (?!) is beyond stupid. It’s 2017, there are many different and better ways to handle parking space payments. I rarely carry cash anymore, so running around to get coins is going to be a deal-breaker for me. Not to mention having to re-feed the meter if I’m staying longer than anticipated.

  • As someone who lives close to Rice Village, I don’t feel any real desire to visit any of the merchants there. If shopping is what one wants, there’s always a mall – or online shopping. The UPS man doesn’t have to fret about parking in front of your house for 30 seconds to drop off your item.
    And, I find nearly all eateries in Rice Village have a better competitive option somewhere else in the city. Plus, University Boulevard is a bit narrow and broken down, which is annoying. Bottom line: Avoid the whole thing.

  • Now, after two-dozen-plus comments, two clarifications are needed: first, the meters aren’t coin-operated. They take credit or debit cards, but not cash of any kind. Second, contrary to opinions about the ease of finding parking in the Village and the lack of a problem, the Kinder study illustrates the problem of people not knowing where they can find parking that’s available and therefore circling about where it’s not available.

    As for the choice of parking meters instead of pay-and-display, the idea that these might offend the eye while the teeming clutter of parked cars doesn’t is hilarious.

  • I think the point isn’t that the multiple meters offend the eye; it’s more that they’re much less space-efficient than the ones they have downtown, where one meter serves a block or half block.

  • I like the old school meter per spot. At least it is very clear you have to pay, and where. I have been burned in cities with poor signage and a machine around the corner.

  • Guys, I know this has been pointed out, but I”m LOLing so much over here that I’ve got to point it out again: THERE IS FREE PARKING IN THIS PLAN. There are huge parking garages that you can park in FOR FREE. What’s more, those parking garages actually are REALLY convenient for access to the local businesses. My wife and I parked in the central parking garage this past week and walked all of 2 minutes to Mi Luna for dinner. It was closer than I frequently park at a suburban mall. What’s more: in my opinion, they are far easier to access and navigate than on-street parking (wait, don’t get out yet, there’s a car coming. . .now another car. . .I think you’re safe. . .DAMN! Another car!)

    As a frequent visitor of the Rice Village, I totally welcome these changes.

  • Yeah, I happened upon this last week when I needed to pick up a few things on my lunch. Upon the thought of paying to park, I went home and ordered what I needed on amazon. Thanks Prime! No thanks Village!