Parking on the Strip was already frustrating. Now it’s worse


By WVUA 23 Digital Reporter Kyrsten Eller

As students returned to Tuscaloosa from winter break, many were shocked to see the former stretch of parallel parking spots along the Strip, located on University Boulevard, turned into yellow-lined loading zones.

But while drivers searching for a parking spot that’s not an insane walk to their chosen restaurant or retail store, delivery trucks and drivers for ride-sharing or food-delivery apps are having a much better time.

Buffalo Phil’s Manager Leah Price said drivers with those services can get in and get out a whole lot quicker, meaning their food gets delivered nice and hot instead of sad and soggy.

“I know it’s helping out the delivery drivers, since we use DoorDash, and it’s good for Ubers because they can pull through more easily,” said Price.

For those who work on the Strip or just want to pop by for a visit, there’s still plenty of available parking, but it might not be well-labeled or requires a small hike to drivers’ ultimate destinations.

“We have three spots in the front that haven’t changed,” said Price. “We also have a lot behind us. It’s ours and Bear Trap’s, so we share it.”

While the delivery drivers are plenty happy, Strip visitors are wondering where the heck they’re supposed to park now that all those spots are gone. While it looks like there’s plenty of space for cars nearby, including at the University of Alabama and at Publix, drivers parking in those spots should know they might wind up with a boot or a ticket.

Publix does not allow parking for anyone who isn’t visiting Publix, and the University of Alabama’s lots have parking enforcement rules for most of the day. Many area apartments have ample parking, but if you don’t live there you can expect a tow and a hefty bill to pull your car out of impound.

University of Alabama student Shelby Smith said it’s frustrating when she picks up food on the Strip because there is almost nowhere to park.

“It can be hard when I want to go get dinner with my friends or even workout and there are very limited spots,” said Smith. “That’s why I mainly just walk or Uber if I’m wanting to go on a busier time of day.”

So where can you park? Most of the side streets off University Boulevard allow parallel parking — just avoid the yellow lines and be prepared to search. University Town Center, which includes Swen, the UPS store and other restaurants and retail, has its own parking lot for customers. After 6 p.m. and on weekends, parking is allowed at any spot on the UA campus.

There are no plans to add parking to the area anytime soon. The city of Tuscaloosa has not commented on the changes.

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