The Richmond Folk Festival is over and things are getting back to normal around Belle Isle. However, the upper parking lot at the ever-popular Belle Isle will remained closed for at least the next six months. It is planned to be reopened in April 2011, but there are a few issues: Overcrowding, trash not put in receptacles, abuse of parking area, parking on the steep grassy hillside between the lots, etc. Combined, the upper and lower lots only handle about 50 cars.
Closing the upper lot is in part to cut down on maintenance, but this is also the off-season for Belle Isle. At the peak of summer, people park along Tredegar Street (on the way down to Belle Isle) and 2nd Street (off Robert E. Lee Bridge) and in the Oregon Hill and Spring Hill neighborhoods. By spring, some alternatives may be in place to help on weekends. Possible solutions, all with a fee involved:
- Parking at Dominion parking lot at base of pedestrian footbridge
- Parking at upper lot along Tredegar Street at Tredegar Ironworks
- Parking at MeadWestvaco parking deck
- Parking at American Civil War Center lot
Have you had trouble parking at Belle Isle? Does overcrowding at Belle Isle keep you away? Would you be willing to pay to park at Belle Isle? What would you suggest to help solve the overcrowding in the parking areas? If you have to pay, should food vendors be allowed to set up as well?