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Wednesday, January 26, 2022

Additional regulations for gameday parking in neighborhoods near UF, discussed last week in a City Commission meeting, could also impact parking at the Union Street Farmers Market.

Last week, the commission reviewed the first reading of an ordinance that would change the way the city regulates the selling of parking spaces for large events.

During the meeting, members of the council disagreed with a part of the ordinance that deals with the issue of curb hopping.

The new ordinance would prohibit parking on public property, which was already illegal. However, it is directed at ensuring cars don’t hop curbs to create parking spaces — as fans routinely do on game day.

But an unintended consequence of the ordinance’s passage could restrict vendors’ accessibility to their spaces at the market.

As the market expanded and moved to Bo Diddley Plaza, representatives from the Community Redevelopment Association, Gainesville Police Department and Gainesville Regional Utilities discussed the issue, said Charlie Lybrand, founder and director of the farmers market.

He said they talked about how some vendors needed to jump the curb to access the north end of the plaza.

“I was assured that this was perfectly all right and had the precedent of the city doing this regularly for its Friday night music events as well as GRU doing it regularly to access their storeroom behind the stage for supplies and tools,” he wrote in an email to the city commissioners.

But with the proposal of the ordinance, vendors have become included in the policy that would apply to all curb jumping.

City Commissioner Todd Chase said curb-jumping doesn’t present a hazard to anyone and suggested the city should not specifically prohibit it.

“On the few days of the year when, quite frequently, our city comes alive with one of the most popular recreation activities,” he said. “On those days, I think that it’s OK to use a little common sense.”

But Commissioner Thomas Hawkins disagreed with Chase and said the no-curb-hopping regulations should be enforced at all times.

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“I would say any sidewalk anywhere in the city, whether it’s the farmers market or 51st Avenue, people shouldn’t have to dodge cars,” Hawkins said. “It should be a place that is safe to push your baby in a stroller, walk your dog.”

A version of this story ran on page 4 on 8/27/2013 under the headline "Proposed parking regulation could target farmers market vendors"

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