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October 1, 2014

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Joe Downtown: Newly installed fencing cuts off free parking in oft-used lot

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Steve Marcus

A vacant lot is shown at Ogden Avenue and Sixth Street in downtown Las Vegas Monday, June 10, 2013. The lot, owned by Alonzo Williams Sr., a 62-year-old medical doctor from Little Rock, Ark., was being used for parking but has recently been fenced off.

Downtown Lot Fenced Off

A vacant lot is shown at Ogden Avenue and Sixth Street in downtown Las Vegas Monday, June 10, 2013. The lot, owned by Alonzo Williams Sr., a 62-year-old medical doctor from Little Rock, Ark., was being used for parking but has recently been fenced off. Launch slideshow »

Parking choices in downtown Las Vegas just got a bit slimmer.

The free parking lot at Ogden Avenue and Sixth Street, owned by a doctor from Arkansas, was fenced over the weekend with signs warning vehicles parking there would be towed. On any given day, at least 100 people used the empty, gravel lot to park for free.

The closure comes just days after the city unveiled new parking meters that accept coins, credit and debit cards.

So, free parking downtown is gone, for the most part -- there are some on-street sections far from the business areas of Fremont Street without parking meters.

The city also has a virtually unused lot that is relatively inexpensive. It's in the basement of the Neonopolis fun-cube at Ogden and Las Vegas Boulevard. The first hour is free; it's then $1/hour up to $5 maximum – that's not a bad deal as far as paid parking goes.

Most of the new parking meters are $1/hour, though the city says some of the hourly rates will increase while others decrease, depending upon usage patterns.

Of course, there’s always free parking at downtown Las Vegas casinos. Many who work in the eastern area of Fremont East, however, don’t use them for a variety of reasons, including distance, difficulty in finding spaces, and having to obtain stamped validation on a parking receipt, which requires wandering through a casino’s maze to find the person or machine that provides the stamp.

Joe Schoenmann doesn’t just cover downtown, he lives and works there. Schoenmann is Greenspun Media Group’s embedded downtown journalist, working from an office in the Emergency Arts building.

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