This story has been corrected. See below.
The Travis County Commissioners Court discussed a proposal Tuesday that could cut individual permit parking for some downtown employees, replacing it with open, or "zoned," parking lot parking.
The county aims to eliminate a three year-long waitlist for parking that has 320 employees still angling for a spot.
Travis County auditor Nikki Riley told the commissioners the county pays $120,000 a year for additional spaces so certain employees can have reserved spots. "We are firmly convinced that if we go to zoned parking, we would be able to eliminate the waiting list," she said.
But some county employees say the measure would take away a convenient and coveted commodity – with some employees waiting years for a good parking spot.
"I think one of the benefits of working for Travis County is the fact that we're provided parking," said county prosecutor Donna Crosby. She also expressed safety concerns over garage parking, saying an individual parking spot was safer.
Currently the majority of downtown employees use unreserved or “zoned” parking at the 700 Lavaca garage, while other lots use reserved parking spaces.
The court's proposed change says that spaces with reserved or assigned parking have an average of 30 percent vacancy during work hours due to a range of factors, ranging from different schedules to vacation and sick days.
Travis County commissioners are set to discuss again the proposal again in two weeks.
Correction: This story initially identified a speaker before the commissioners court by first name only, stating that the speaker did so out of a fear of retaliation. The speaker, Donna Crosby, did in fact use her whole name; the fear she referred to was of street assault related to the parking changes discussed, not a fear of retaliation. The story has since been corrected.