Savannah is known for its abundance of storybook parks and squares, but before we get too far into this, I wanted to let you know that this “Park It” is not about those. This post is about where to park your car so that you can get out and enjoy all those parks and squares! Why a whole post about parking? Because parking in downtown Savannah has experienced a slight overhaul for 2018 – with many, many upgrades – and we want to be sure you’re in the know and can Park It with confidence.
In full effect as of February 2018, steps were taken by the City of Savannah in order to make finding spots, paying for spots and staying in those spots longer a much easier process for everyone. You see, it used to be that as you drove around historic downtown Savannah, keeping an eye out for a convenient spot to park, you would also have to pay attention to how long you could park there. Was it a 30-minute zone? One hour? Two hours? Park for free up to two hours once a day? And was this a meter that took nickels, dimes and quarters or quarters only? Oh, by the way, do you even HAVE any quarters (I usually don’t)?
So much to think about, isn’t it? Thankfully, the city’s parking systems have now gone high tech so you can feel free to explore history to your heart’s content.
Let’s start by talking about Zones. There are two of them aptly named Zone 1 and Zone 2 (off to an easy start!). Zone 1 is north of Oglethorpe Avenue from Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard to Habersham Street. Zone 2 is anything outside of Zone 1. Makes sense. I’m more of a visual person so we’ve included a color-coded map to help you picture the zones a bit more easily. Within those two zones, the city operates 3,000 metered spaces, 5 public parking garages and 6 surface lots. These are located throughout historic downtown to make navigating the city’s many sights as convenient as possible.
With the new system, gone are the days of squinting to read the ‘allowed time’ on each meter before parking there because now there are no more time limits on parking spaces. Wait, that’s important, so let me say that again – there are no more time limits on parking spaces. This is really big news because the last thing you want to do is try to enjoy the sights while simultaneously worrying about how much time is left on your meter. Thankfully those days and time limits are gone.
As a Savannah native, one of the biggest changes I’m having to adjust to is paying the meters after 5 pm. It used to be that weekends and weekdays after 5 pm were free. With the new regulations, however, meters are in effect weekdays and Saturdays from 8 am until 8 pm with Sundays remaining the only time you can park for free (no matter the zone). Paying those meters, however, has become sooooo much easier. Why? I’m glad you asked! First, you know your rate by Zone – Zone 1 is $2 per hour and Zone 2 is $1 per hour. Second, high-tech meters mean you can save your quarters (even the ones in the fold of your seat) and pay with a credit card. Third, and possibly easiest of all, is the new ParkSavannah App that allows you to pay for parking through your mobile device (you can access that by clicking here: http://www.savannahga.gov/parksavannah).
What if you don’t want to park at a metered spot at all? The city thought of that as well and enacted new routes and hours to its fare-free dot visitor transportation shuttle. Now operating as far south as Forsyth Park and as far north as Johnson Square, the dot is a free and easy way to skip the meters while still enjoying all that Savannah has to offer. The dot runs every 10 minutes with 24 stops around the historic district and operates Monday thru Friday from 7 am to 7 pm, Saturday 10 am to 7 pm and Sunday 10 am to 6 pm. You can read all about the dot by visiting connectonthedot.com. We’ve also included the latest route map as part of this post for quick reference. When you’re out and about, it’s easy to spot all dot stops (what a tongue twister!) by looking for the purple dot signs posted throughout the shuttle-service area.
With so many parking improvements it seems what they say is true, “change is good” and the new features and regulations are definitely a good change for anyone ready to explore the history, beauty, charm and all-out quirkiness of Downtown Savannah, Georgia (especially because now you can leave your ‘change’ at home – get it? No quarters needed…hmmmm, that might have been funnier in my head). Now get out there a Park It!