Parking becoming an issue for businesses and drivers in Nob Hill

Created: 07/17/2014 5:50 PM
By: Stuart Dyson, KOB Eyewitness News 4

Albuquerque’s Nob Hill neighborhood is famous for its thriving restaurants, retail shops and art galleries. But among people who run those businesses and work in them it’s famous for something else – parking tickets. These days they say they’re sprouting on windshields like weeds after a summer downpour.

Talk to small business owners in Nob Hill and they’ll talk your ear off about parking their cars, or their employees’ cars, or customers’ cars, or their delivery vans on Central or Monte Vista or any of the Nob Hill side streets. Some are getting two or three tickets a week, but for some it’s two or three a day.

Ron Sanchez can fix just about any guitar or any other stringed instrument, but he can’t fix parking tickets, and he just keeps on getting them. Ron owns Albuquerque Tone Lab on Monte Vista and he gets completely wrapped up in his work, oftentimes forgetting to go out every two hours to pump more money into the pay station for his pickup parked out in front of the shop. Under the law, he’s actually supposed to move it after two hours, but Ron figures he’s doing his part by paying.

“I’m in here working,” Ron said while repairing a faulty bridge on a Gibson Les Paul Classic 1960 reissue. “You lose track of time. You go out, there’s a ticket on your window, at the rate of about 30 or 40 dollars a month.”

Ron is one of the lucky ones. Other owners tell us they’re paying 30 or 40 dollars a week. Parking is by permit only for people who live on most residential streets in the UNM/Nob Hill area, so that’s not an option. Privately owned paid parking lots are few and far between and too far away to be practical for many businesses.

“There’s plenty of days where I’m delivering guitars to other stores, like Guitar Vista or Grumpy’s,” Ron Sanchez said. “ I have to lock everything up, go get my truck, come back, load up, deliver everything – you know – inconvenience!”

Not to mention lost productivity. In a city that prides itself on being business-friendly, the Nob Hill parking tickets are like little reminders that friendship does have its limitations. City Parking Division Director Mark Shepherd says he is ready and willing to meet with or phone or email any of the business owners to try to come up with solutions that can work, for both the businesses and the city.

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