Smart Trips Program Offers Options to City Parking Changes

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As of July 1, 2016, several changes related to garage and street parking took effect in certain parts of Knoxville. With a focus on downtown and Fort Sanders, the City and Public Building Authority (PBA) are increasing enforcement, adjusting rates, and installing new meters. With all of this, monthly parking fees for garage parking will see a slight increase, most meters will have slightly higher fees and now include Saturdays, and there will be more officers to police these changes.

While these changes are minor, many people will be affected – downtown employees and those coming downtown to shop, eat, and attend special events may see an increase in the cost of parking. However, it is also a time when there are numerous transportation and parking options available, with multiple tools to navigate those options available at our fingertips.

Smart Trips, a free program that encourages people to rethink their workplace commutes, offers suggestions to those who work downtown on how to avoid parking fee increases and even pay less for monthly parking.

  • Carpool: certain garages offer monthly fee sharing to carpoolers – you can also take advantage of park and ride locations if you need to meet up at a convenient location with others in your carpool
  • Transit: give up your downtown parking pass and opt to park in a free lot and take the trolley (also free!) to the stop closest to your office, avoid parking altogether and ride the bus into downtown
  • Reduced monthly parking fees: another option is to park at the Civic Coliseum for a monthly rate of $15 and walk or take the trolley to your office from there
  • Bike or walk: incorporate physical activity and a healthy lifestyle into your daily commute, or park in a free location and bike or walk from there
  • Flex schedule: work a condensed work week by working 4 10-hour days and forget about the hassle of parking one day a week
  • Telecommute: the cheapest commute you can make is by working from home

Other helpful tools to figure out parking options are to use the parking map found on the Downtown Knoxville website at From there, you can search for free parking; garages and lots with hourly, daily, and monthly rates; and even determine how many steps it will to take you to get from a parking location to your destination.

To find out more about city parking and details about parking changes, visit