Around lunchtime on a rainy July 31, Mellow Mushroom regional manager Craig Brown counted three customers in his restaurant at 260 Market St. in New Albany.

Despite that, he said, all parking spots in front of the business were taken.

Brown, who also manages Mellow Mushroom restaurants near Polaris and Dublin, said lunch sales are down at the New Albany location because employees who work elsewhere in his building and in nearby locations park in front of Mellow Mushroom, forcing his customers to park farther away, nearly in front of the Philip Heit Center for Healthy New Albany, 150 W. Main St.

"Lunch is abysmal," he said.

A day later, one-hour parking signs were installed at spots near Mellow Mushroom, part of city leaders' plan to create a short-term parking solution for the parking lots and spaces around Market Square.

As more businesses open in the Market Street corridor, city leaders are considering ways to navigate the changes, now and in the future.

For now, the vision includes designating 30 city-owned spaces closest to businesses in Market Square as one-hour parking from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mondays through Fridays, said Jennifer Chrysler, New Albany's community-development director.

Two spaces will be added for expectant mothers and two of four ADA-compliant spots would be relocated from near Mellow Mushroom to the Market and Main building where Freshii, 160 W. Main St., is located, she said.

Plants in the lot also were removed and will be replaced with sidewalks, she said.

City leaders do not have a completion date for the work, but they are hopeful it would be finished by the end of summer, Chrysler said.

The changes are a result of New Albany City Council's desire to have a mix of spaces that could be available for easy access to retail businesses and also longer-term parking, she said.

Changes target the 421-space portion of a city-owned lot closest to retailers. The entire lot stretches to the Heit Center and contains 706 spaces.

Parking would be enforced via complaints, and violators could be ticketed, Chrysler said.

With the business growth in Market Square, parking has become harder to come by, said Geoff Clark, owner of VeloScience Bike Works at 220 Market St.

"It's been interesting," he said.

Although his business doesn't require as many parking spots as the nearby restaurants, customers have told him that finding a place to park can be difficult, Clark said.

However, it has not been too much of a problem for his business, he said.

"It hasn't been a major issue," he said.

ssole@thisweeknews.com

@ThisWeekSarah