Parking in downtown New Braunfels requires drivers to navigate various different signs, expenses and rules depending on where they choose to park. That could soon change.

In an effort to expand parking availability and clarity on rules to anyone working or spending time in downtown, city officials are proposing a number of solutions for council to consider in the near future.

The gist

New Braunfels’ downtown area has a mix of free public lots, private paid lots and free 2-hour parking along the streets. The New Braunfels Parking Committee submitted several proposals to city, including:
  • Eliminating the 2-hour street parking Mon.-Fri. from 8 a.m.-5 p.m. and add a paid parking component operated by a third party
  • Expand operating hours of that street parking to 10 a.m.-10 p.m., seven days a week
  • Operate that street parking as a high turnover, shorter term parking resource starting at $2 per hour
  • Promote longer term parking in the city’s free lots and private paid lots
These recommendations were accepted by the Downtown Board in February and endorsed by the Downtown Association, according to city documents.

Diving in deeper

Other ideas include coordinating parking brand signage with private lot owners and supplying them with the updated signs, as well as reconfiguring some public lots, such as the one at the corner of Coll Street and South Castell Avenue to add space.

“There's a perception that there is a lack of parking, even though as a system, [parking spaces are] less than 50% occupied. We also know that at any given time there's probably about 600 employees in the downtown area that are competing for parking with patrons,” said Jeff Jewell, director of economic and community development at a March 18 council meeting.

Jewell also noted that city staff considered building a parking structure in 2022, but that feasibility study determined the cost would amount to $40,000-50,000 per parking space. While that is something the city could still consider at some point, the current recommendations are what the city could accomplish in the short term.

“We've had about 10 lots or so that were previously unavailable to anybody except for employees and patrons of those particular businesses even when the business was closed, so people have opted to open up their lots and are creating parking supply in the downtown area,” Jewell said.

Next steps

The city will formulate a request for proposals to find a company that can assist with establishing the program, provide for parking enforcement, a technological platform for paid parking, kiosks or paid stations and other goals for the parking plan.