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DDA details new parking proposal

Monday, Jan. 24, 2011 12:58 PM
Last updated 11:06 PM
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A new parking enforcement plan detailed by Downtown Development Authority Director Margaret Woodard would implant thousands of electronic discs underground at parking spaces to monitor visitors' comings and goings.

In this January 2010 photo, a Richmond County sheriff's deputy writes a parking ticket on Broad Street  Augusta Chronicle file
Augusta Chronicle file
In this January 2010 photo, a Richmond County sheriff's deputy writes a parking ticket on Broad Street

Woodard presented the plan to Augusta commissioners this morning during a work session. 

In the proposal, the DDA would pay $300,000 per year to a company called Streetsmart for the monitoring technology, plus 14 percent of collections on an estimated 31,000 tickets issued to a collections company.

The DDA also would utilize Service Group Inc., the company it uses for downtown CADI cleaning and safety services, to manage a crew of seven people to run the program, Woodard said.

The proposal also includes a revised parking ordinance that adds an adjudication process for violators.

"What if people obey the law?" Commissioner Joe Bowles asked Woodard.

Projected income from the program of $885,937 just covered expenses, in a handout Woodard provided.

"We'll tweak it," she said.

The program will ease the burden on Richmond County Sheriff's deputies of issuing tickets, but it also could utilize off-duty deputies in one of seven positions created, Woodard said.

Currently, businesses interested in moving downtown are turned off by the unavailability of parking spaces, she said.

The system will provide immediate data about space usage, said DDA Board Member Sanford Loyd, who serves on the board's parking committee.

The DDA also is working with the owners of private lots downtown to potentially use the spaces for downtown residents and employees, Woodard said.

The program also would begin with a three-month public awareness campaign and a two-week period where only warnings are issued, Woodard said.

The sheriff's office supports the proposal if it has commission support, Capt. Scott Gay said.

Robert Cizek with Streetsmart said his technology was in use all over the United States, and was most prevalent in San Francisco, where some 8,000 of the units are installed.

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Fiat_Lux 01/25/11 - 11:10 am
I hope the Kroc Center does

I hope the Kroc Center does everything countyman believes it will. It would be great to have that area come back to life. However, until it actually does undergo some sort of socio-economic and demographic transformation, the biggest problem is going to be dealing with predators that will target people using the facility.

Provide free parking and pay for state-of-the-art security. That is how to attract big crowds. It is beyond obtuse and self-defeating to charge patrons to park but not bother to make sure they are absolutely safe. Completely bass ackward.

countyman 01/25/11 - 03:10 pm
The Kroc Center will have

The Kroc Center will have both private security and parking spaces.... The areas in Harrisburg facing the Hill are nice and the homes have manicured lawns.. The part of the neighborhood facing 15th street is the sketchy area..

Harrisburg was the only neighborhood in Augusta who meet all of the requirements. The neighborhood had to be diverse and have high visibility(Broad street). The site of Kroc Center had to be in a low-income area(sketchy side of Harrisburg) surrounded by higher income areas(the side of Harrisburg facing the Hill, Waters Edge, Summerville/Hill/Midtown, Central Business District). The neighborhood had to show it could be gentrified because of the Kroc Center.

Emerydan 01/25/11 - 02:54 pm
I can see where turnover can

I can see where turnover can be a problem for certain businesses downtown, like restaurants, coffee houses, and boutiques, where a customer may spend an hour or less at the establishment. So it seems to me that all that really needs to be done is to designate certain spaces in fron to fthose busineeses as short term "customer" parking only.. and enforce the rules for those spaces. That also means that the owners of these buisinesses need to monitor their employees' parking.. and makje sure they don't tie up space for customers. It seems reasonable that a business witha certain threshhold of employees should have to provide parking for their employees.. by the way we have several underutilized parking decks already downtown. Why not construct another centrally located parking deck downtown, primarily for the use of downtown office workkers and store employees? Isn't that the main function of the dda in the first place, to be the bonding authority for parking decks? The majority of spaces should be left as -is downtown.. only have this turnover enforcement in specially designated spaces and for the handicapped or expectant mothers. Then, as more business come and fills the voids in downtown and parking truly becauser an major issue, then meters or more widespread time limits could be entertained. BVUt downtown Augusta is no where near that point. It seems there is only a problem for certain businesses, so lets target the spaces that affect just those businesses and not ALL of downtown parking.

usapatriot 01/25/11 - 08:08 pm
Punitive. Always punitive.

Punitive. Always punitive. Not enough tax dollars to do what they want downtown? No problem, we'll get it thru fines.

What if people obey? Well, this wunderkind woman will "tweak" it and find a way to make people part with their money.

Always punitive in the pursuit of the positive.

Crime Reports and Rewards TV
Crime Reports and Rewards TV 01/25/11 - 04:51 pm
Folks could park in the

Folks could park in the almost always vacant parking decks if they had a golf cart ride or something to and from their stores. Sounds like a Biz opportunity for some entrepreneur to me. Wasn’t there somebody who started a service where two people could be pedaled around town??? Currently i use the almost always empty "parking decks" to play roller blade hockey ha hahah

Insider Information
Insider Information 01/25/11 - 05:10 pm
countyman, you gave yourself

countyman, you gave yourself away. You must be an elected official because you completely avoided my question. Haha.

fiat, no truer words have ever been spoken.

I think Ms. Woodard should put her money where her mouth is. She claims this proposal is all about bringing business downtown and that parking is the only standing in the way.

If that's true, will she be williing to turn over all proceeds from tickets to the city's general fund? Surely, this is not a power/money grab on her part.

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