It can often be difficult for downtown shoppers to find an available parking space.

A new initiative could make it easier for patrons shopping in the downtown area of Springfield to find a parking spot.

Last month, the City voted to approve the first reading of the 15-minute parking space mandate for downtown Springfield.

City leaders say they are hoping to solve the problem that downtown businesses have been experiencing — both local and out-of-town customers not being able to find parking spaces to explore and shop.

Instead, the spaces are being taken up by business owners’ vehicles. As a result, many shopkeepers have only seen customers drive around the blocks a couple of times, and since they can’t find parking space, they leave.

The 15-minute parking spaces would be in front of businesses for pickups and drop-offs. That way, the business owners would be more likely to park behind their shops, freeing up the other parking spaces for customers.

Two of the 15-minute parking spaces would be right off the corner of 7th Avenue, next to businesses such as Trading Company, Main Street Boutique, Historic Perk, Willow Oak Center for Arts & Learning, Southern Threads Monogram & Gift Shop, and Sugar Roots.

Donna Morton, the owner of Main Street Boutique, shared her thoughts on the initiative, saying, “I believe it’s a very good idea. That way, we’ll have parking spaces where people can easily come and go, we as merchants will park behind our businesses and we can leave the parking on the street for customers and people coming into Springfield.

“As a business owner, if you’re looking to grow and you’re looking to make the downtown area accommodating too, then we should make these new parking spaces happen.”

As for the new parking spaces on Sixth Avenue, the City would move one parking space closer to Westcourt Square and the other closer to S. Main Street. That way, customers would be more likely to park on those streets and they would be close enough to the businesses for easy access.

City officials and local business owners believe the new 15-minute parking spaces will improve the downtown areas’ traffic and customer accommodation. However, if people continue to not adhere to the rules regarding limited-time parking, the City could take further measures. One of these measures could be parking meters.

The City will be hosting a special meeting for a second reading on Tuesday, June 15.

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