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Commission vote on downtown parking expected

Monday, May 20, 2013 9:18 PM
Last updated Tuesday, May 21, 2013 1:19 AM
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Whether downtown businesses and the public are allowed unlimited public parking on Broad Street faces a likely vote by the Augusta Commission on Tuesday.

A two-hour time limit on parking has long been unenforced, but the Richmond County Sheriff’s Office recently stirred the pot by “chalking” tires to measure how long vehicles have been parked, but issued no tickets, according to law enforcement. The city engineering department recently repainted curbs and restored two-hour parking signs removed years ago during a lighting project.

The moves excited business owners in the 1200 block of Broad Street and side streets, and Johnson Laschober and Associates engineer Donald Thorstad implored commissioners at a recent committee meeting to remember how reliant businesses are on downtown parking, particularly in the Broad Street median.

Thorstad’s business and 16 others filed a petition against the two-hour time limit. Petitioners included Planned Parenthood and Augusta Care Pregnancy Center, four restaurants and three design firms.

Commissioner Donnie Smith, a state trooper, said Sher­iff Richard Roundtree was wise to wait for the commission to set parking restrictions before attempting to enforce one. Smith said he expects the commission to deal with parking on Broad from Seventh to 12th streets.

“The bottom line is the authority on changing the ordinance is the county government,” Smith said.

An ordinance from the 1970s was the basis for the two-hour limit, said Traffic Engi­neer Steve Cassell. How­ever, the commission voted in April 1996 to lift the two-hour limit in the median, a detail not overlooked by Thorstad.

“Right now, we’re just not sure about the parking ordinance,” Smith said.

City General Counsel Andrew MacKenzie said he was researching the status of city parking restrictions downtown and would present his findings Tuesday.

The issue tends to receive divided commission votes, Cassell said, such as the Downtown Development Authority’s proposal to install underground electronic monitoring discs, which was defeated by the commission.

Mayor Pro Tem Corey Johnson said he expects the commission to veto a two-hour limit and a proposal to sell parking passes to businesses.

“We’re going to suspend that ordinance altogether,” he said.

Commissioner Marion Williams disagreed.

“If you do that, you’re going to have people leaving their cars down there all day,” he said. “We ought to be glad there’s no parking, so we can create some.”

Williams, who as Super District 9 commissioner inherits a seat on the DDA, suggested another idea for Broad Street: erecting a platform above a Broad Street median parking well where people can gather and overlook downtown revelry. He said this might be possible using the transportation sales tax, which includes funding to revamp Broad Street from end to end if collections suffice.

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Little Lamb
45764
Points
Little Lamb 05/20/13 - 10:00 pm
3
1
Platform Revelry

Yeah, and when a tipsy reveler falls off the platform, who do you think will pay damages?

By the way, there is already an item on the consent agenda to pay for alleged damages to a woman who drove her car over an Augusta street pothole. If they pay that, we taxpayers are on the hook for all kinds of road-related damages. Ken Nugent, here we come!

gargoyle
16696
Points
gargoyle 05/20/13 - 10:56 pm
3
1
With all the issues that

With all the issues that abound, Downtown parking is the least of them. Sounds more like a new money tree for the DDA than a real concern.

dichotomy
32672
Points
dichotomy 05/20/13 - 11:37 pm
4
0
"erecting a platform above a

"erecting a platform above a Broad Street median parking well where people can gather and overlook downtown revelry."

What???????????????

And this guy wants to run for state office. Aren't you so proud somebody like this is in charge of spending YOUR money?

countyman
19982
Points
countyman 05/21/13 - 01:18 am
2
8
Parking does need to be address

The city doesn't need to enforce the 2 hr limit until late 2014/2015, and simply focus on building new parking for now. The parking situation is definitely one of the main issues for downtown businesses/residents. I think people forget, because the news doesn't mention often that people actually do live downtown. Any high profile crime will always have somebody from the media asking people who live 15-20 miles away do they feel safe downtown. I would hope Augusta is big enough to handle the parking situation, and do something to improve safety downtown. Everybody should agree we need additional foot/bike patrols, and parking. The new Farmhaus Burgers is open, 12 apartments above the restaurant are underway, and a new restaurant is underway next to Farmhaus. This is only one block along Broad, and we don't have any new parking. The best solutions is probably to tear up one or two of the parking bays in the middle of broad. Build another parking deck with street level businesses on the 1st floor, parking in the middle, and the platform(walk/sit) at the top or next to the parking deck in the middle of Broad. The final parking deck can be located between the Judicial Center and Greene street.

I don't agree with the premise how downtown has all of these issues. The crime rate can be compared against the other 'safe' areas in the CSRA. I think we need to focus on the perception more than anything.

Riverman1
83439
Points
Riverman1 05/21/13 - 04:32 am
6
0
Maybe Williams Means A Guard Tower

Maybe Williams means a platform above the revelry like a guard tower at a prison with law enforcement observing things with loaded shotguns at the ready.

Riverman1
83439
Points
Riverman1 05/21/13 - 04:51 am
6
1
Huh? Build ANOTHER parking

Huh? Build ANOTHER parking deck? I don't think so.

nocnoc
42309
Points
nocnoc 05/21/13 - 06:25 am
6
1
Killing down Town Part #2

This ain't 1950-1980's.
Why would I go downtown to spend more money to park in a space, that my Taxes paid to pave and maintained already?

Why would I run the risk getting a parking ticket to shop downtown ?

I remember ch 6 or ch 12 story on meters that could not keep time. Meter maids circling like vultures.

I also remember the fines that went missing or got pocketed.
The costs to hire meter maids and a few fights over fast meters that just happen to be in certain locations.

The chalk mark arguments where a person moved the vehicle a few spaces only get a ticket....

Yeah let's be idiots and purchase several Million dollars worth NEW High Tech Meters and install them.

An hope after 10 years the meters pay for themselves.

Sounds like some one has a sweet deal in the works....

corgimom
32126
Points
corgimom 05/21/13 - 06:27 am
7
2
Countyman. If downtown is so

Countyman.

If downtown is so safe, why would there need to be additional police to patrol it?

I've literally been all over the CSRA. There has only been one place that I have been harassed by panhandlers. That would be downtown.

There has only been one place that I have seen drunks staggering down the sidewalk. That would be downtown.

There is only one place that I have nearly run over a man that was running down the road, screaming. That would be downtown.

There is only one place that I have had to deal with a man standing on the sidewalk, screaming obscenities. That would be downtown.

Too many people have had experiences like mine. Statistics don't mean squat to me; it's all about personal experiences, and many people have had negative ones, just like me.

People need to make up their minds. Either downtown is safe, so there is an adequate amount of police patrols, or it's not safe, and it needs more patrols, and then stop the PR nonsense.

But Countyman, the part that you just don't understand is that we knew downtown when it was different. We have something to compare to. We remember when it truly was safe and decent. From your perspective, because you've never seen it differently, it's safe. The rest of us have watched it decline, and we know it's not.

nocnoc
42309
Points
nocnoc 05/21/13 - 07:19 am
8
0
A different Down town in my youth

When I was 12 to 17 we regularly caught the Greyhound, Southeastern Stage or Trailways into town $.50 one way, then walked over to Broad Rd.

We saw a movie at the Miller, Imperial or the other one across from F. W. Woolworth's.

We ate at Woolworth's or Snappy Burger.
We visited Rayless, Jay's Music, Augusta News and Mags'.

Later we caught the 10:05pm Waynesboro Bus running out US-25 to off at Byrd Rd. We then walked another 30 mins to get to the house.

We earned the money by picking up Coke and RC bottles for the return deposit. If we wasted the money we did not go downtown. Mom and Dad were clear, if we wanted something earn it.
Sometimes the RC and Moon pie on a hot day was greater temptation and we skipped a week.

The Point is, our parents knew Downtown above 6th was safe.
I never had a problem downtown until the late 70's and it was when I wondered down to the Gordon Bus station area. Broad and 5th.

Why ? I remember seeing Augusta Police walking Broad St. entering checking with the store owners and returning to walking their beats.

GnipGnop
12190
Points
GnipGnop 05/21/13 - 07:23 am
6
1
Poor South Augusta...

I see a parking tax in the future....

nocnoc
42309
Points
nocnoc 05/21/13 - 07:23 am
4
0
Almost forgot

When the Water Moccasins got to thick at the swimming hole down by Spirit Creek Bridge we'd forgo the Movie and head to the "YMCA" to swim.

Even the Downtown "Y" was a safe place in those days.

nocnoc
42309
Points
nocnoc 05/21/13 - 07:28 am
7
0
GnipGnop - Some of Us have other Plans than

more Taxes to help Downtown.

There is a move a foot to detach certain contiguous areas of the South Side from AUGUSTA.

We are having a private group meeting this Saturday involving this discussion topic.

soapy_725
43676
Points
soapy_725 05/21/13 - 07:40 am
0
0
And there were more parking spaces before
Unpublished

they dug that hole in the middle of Broad, planted trees and built that ugly building. And you could park on Greene ( or Reynolds, or Ellis ) at night and walk safely to Broad St. , pre-1970.

Now everything in the CBD is "sore eye, sore eye". So say the "Oracle of the Arc of No Coveneent".

seenitB4
86577
Points
seenitB4 05/21/13 - 07:41 am
3
0
Clout

You really need some clout from South Augusta & corgi..that was a great post...

Little Lamb
45764
Points
Little Lamb 05/21/13 - 08:17 am
3
0
Situation

Countyman posted:

The parking situation is definitely one of the main issues for downtown businesses/residents.

The parking situation downtown is in control. People park within the lines most of the time. I travel downtown many, many times a year. I am there on weekdays during business hours. I am there in the evening. I am there after dark. I am there on weekends during the day and during the night. I have never had a problem finding a parking space except for the one time I went to the 4th of July fireworks display.

Augusta does not need a two-hour parking limit. Augusta does not need parking meters. And Augusta definitely does not need another $10 million parking deck, especially if it is to be run for the benefit of Augusta Riverfront LLC.

GnipGnop
12190
Points
GnipGnop 05/21/13 - 09:08 am
4
0
Hey I have an idea....

Let's pay someone to do a study on it!!

Brad Owens
4396
Points
Brad Owens 05/21/13 - 12:37 pm
1
0
Interesting...

First off, there is no "inherited" seats on the DDA. Williams would need to be appointed by the commission and with Tax Commissioner Steve Kendrick on the DDA already it would be a violation of the State Code creating DDAs to have two elected municipal officials on the DDA at one time.

Second, the commission gave the DDA the authority to enforce the parking codes downtown last year, so I wonder why they have been so quiet?

Do away with the parking limit or enforce it, the current situation is a waste of time and resources.

Brad

Little Lamb
45764
Points
Little Lamb 05/21/13 - 01:57 pm
3
0
Two

Not only can you not have two elected officials on the board; you are not supposed to have even two city officers or city employees on the board.

countyman
19982
Points
countyman 05/21/13 - 02:16 pm
1
5
FACTS

Corgimom.. The sheriff already presented the crime rate for the CBD, and it's very low similar to West Augusta. The real estate prices are some highest too. I didn't hear not one terrible crime in your original comment. I used to live in Columbia County, and had more issues with crime compared to living downtown. I want additional officers downtown, because some people don't feel safe at the moment.(I obviously do because I live DT).

How come people get to call Evans safe, and they keep cops patrolling in the Walmart parking lot everyday? Why can Evans have patrols and be considered safe, but not downtown?

You can go visit numerous clubs in the CSRA, and find drunks staggering around. People use curse words all over the CSRA, and not solely downtown.

LittleLamb.. Please talk with some of the people who actually live downtown.

Nonoc. I hope the group realizes people will still be able to work in South Augusta, but don't have to live there. The areas forming their own cities in Atlanta are white, rich, and have plenty of disposable income. Goshen is a nice area, but it's not full of upper middle class residents driving BMW's...

I also find it hilarious West Augusta, Summerville, Forest Hills, etc are richer than South Augusta, but people want us to believe the residents of South Augusta are paying for everything lol. Especially considering the residents of West Augusta would love to have the millions spent on Diamond Lakes, $4 million lake approved near Regency Mall, $20 million technical magnet school, Butler Creek Trailhead Park/Butler Creek Greenway, $1 million Marshalls office along Deans Bridge office, new police substation on Mike Padgett, etc in South Augusta.

Riverman1
83439
Points
Riverman1 05/21/13 - 04:28 pm
4
1
Good luck, South Augusta in

Good luck, South Augusta in your attempt to break away from the city. If y'all can do it West Augusta will have hope too.

countyman
19982
Points
countyman 05/21/13 - 05:40 pm
1
4
North Fulton

Fulton or Dekalb didn't consolidate with the cities of Atlanta/Decatur. South Augusta is already consolidated with the county. Why would West Augusta break away from anything?

burninater
9580
Points
burninater 05/21/13 - 06:12 pm
0
2
One more place, corgi

"I've literally been all over the CSRA. There has only been one place that I have been harassed by panhandlers. That would be downtown.

There has only been one place that I have seen drunks staggering down the sidewalk. That would be downtown.

There is only one place that I have nearly run over a man that was running down the road, screaming. That would be downtown.

There is only one place that I have had to deal with a man standing on the sidewalk, screaming obscenities. That would be downtown."
------

Unless, of course, it's the first full week of April.

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