UPDATE: Free 2-Hour Parking On West 7th Street Delayed

FORT WORTH (CBDSFW.COM) – A popular area for mom-and-pop retail in Fort Worth could soon see a boost, just in time for the holidays.

Tuesday night, the Fort Worth City Council approved a new rate structure for parking meters in the West 7th Urban Village.

Shops and restaurants hope the change will encourage more people to visit the area since they will now be able to park for free for two hours during the day.

They say the parking meters have been hurting business.

Parking meter in Fort Worth’s West 7th area (Caroline Vandergriff – CBS 11)

“I think it’s confusing right now, so people just get frustrated and go to areas they know,” said Lauren Tracy, an employee at a business in the West 7th Urban Village.

Parking problems have plagued the area for months.

“We’re inundated now with parking meters that nobody can work, everybody complains about,” said Perry Tong, who owns Pop’s Safari Cigars and Fine Wines.

Street spots used to be free, until the city installed parking meters in August of last year.

Tong says the move initially caused his daytime business to drop by 30 percent. He says people don’t want to pay to park or risk a ticket just to run in and buy something.

“You get punished for coming down here to shop,” Tong said.

After hearing from several frustrated business owners, the city proposed a compromise and the council unanimously approved it Tuesday night.

People can park in metered spots for free for two hours between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. The rate goes up to $3/hour for the third hour and beyond if the patron chooses to stay in the spot.

“This is the time people are doing holiday parties,” said Tracy.” They want to be out buying gifts, so it would only help everybody here.”

Between 5 p.m. and 10 p.m. there will be no free parking. The rate will be $3/hour.

The new policy goes into effect this Friday, Dec. 13.