Parking rules pushing workers out of downtown happy hour

Nic Conde would love to stay in downtown Norfolk for a drink after work.
Instead he’s rushing to get his car out of a city-owned garage by 6 o’clock, or he’ll have to pay more.

“No one really comes out after they go to work since they have to get out at a certain time,” Conde of Norfolk said.

To turn downtown workers into holiday shoppers, the city of Norfolk pushed back the get out time to 8 pm last month.

Bil Rice manages a handful of restaurants along Granby Street, and says he saw more people coming in for happy hour.

“It’s conduive to those people if they don’t have to rush and the city made it so they didn’t have to and it was very successful,” Rice said.

In the new year, the old rules are still in place, get out by six.

“They’re leaving here as soon as possible,” said Antonio Caruana, who works at Luce on Granby Street.

Luce opened up a month and a half ago, and workers there would like to see the city do more, by making last month’s change permanent. The city is yet to get its numbers back on how effective the December experiment was, and until then it won’t make any final decision.

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