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Downtown Bryan parking woes: Limited customer parking affects sales

The City of Bryan created an ad-hoc committee to solve downtown parking issues after complaints from shop owners
Posted at 5:11 PM, Feb 23, 2024
and last updated 2024-02-23 18:11:11-05

BRYAN, Texas — Downtown retailers have had issues with office employees parking in front of their stores all day, even though the spots are marked for 90-minutes. The city is now creating an ad-hoc committee to solve the issue.

  • Shop owners said their sales have decreased, others said their foot traffic is almost non-existent now.
  • This has been an issue for years with law firm and other office employees, but is now exacerbated by the Texas A&M employees moving into the Varisco building.
  • Former mayor Andrew Nelson will chair this committee and it will include members from each stakeholder group.


“I was 12 when dad bought the store, and I started working on Saturdays, and I made $10 a day. And now I still make $10 a day, owning my own business," Cindy Roberts Burr said.

Cindy Roberts Burr is the co-owner of Burr’s Unfinished Furniture.

“April will be 44 years we have been in downtown,” Roberts Burr said.

Recently, she and other retail owners downtown, have been fighting for open parking spaces in front of their shops.

“They drive by. They see all these vehicles, they just automatically assume the restaurant is now full so they just keep driving,” Roberts Burr said.

She said employees from law offices and the Varisco building park in retail parking spots, keeping customers out, despite a 90-minute parking limit.

After Texas A&M employees moved into the Varisco building, she said there are even fewer spaces.

“We had a meeting over a year ago before the A&M employees were even here. And we were battling the construction workers at the time and they were being disrespectful and parking in front of our businesses all day when the Varisco clearly had a sign saying what lot they needed to be in. But yet they chose to park in front of a retail or restaurant," Roberts Burr said.

Roberts and others who work and live downtown have been asking the city to step in for almost a year.

Now, the city has announced a special committee to fix the parking situation.

A spokesperson for the city said, " The time limit parking signs were put in place at the request of downtown merchants many years ago as a courtesy to encourage turnover. We never intended that the signage would involve criminal penalties or towing that would be unwelcoming to downtown patronage so no ordinance that provides for that exists. This is one of many items that the new ad hoc Downtown Parking Committee will be looking into."

But owners said they don't need new solutions, just enforcement, which they said the city refuses to do.

“We're not mad at the employees. We understand they have a job, but they need to understand if we don't get that foot traffic, that customer in here. We don't have a business," Roberts Burr said.