Originally created 03/01/05

City considers funds for survey of parking



City commissioners will consider a recommendation today to use sales tax money to pay for a comprehensive parking study for downtown Augusta.

The $52,500 survey, commissioned by the Downtown Development Authority, is under way and is expected to be complete by April, although the full commission has not approved funding.

Sanford Loyd, the chairman of the development authority's restructuring committee, said the study would be the first comprehensive survey of parking in the central business district, defined as the 100-block area bounded by the river, Fifth Street, Walton Way and 15th Street.

The study would focus on current and future parking needs 2 years, five years and 10 years from now, along with current management of on-street and off-street parking Mr. Loyd said.

The study is "imperative for the continued growth of the (central business district)," according to a memo from Chris Naylor, authority executive director.

"Should it not be performed, it could inhibit the growth of business and living in the downtown area," Mr. Naylor said.

The 16-step scope of services outlined by Carl Walker Inc. of Atlanta would include:

 •  Identifying (five) major parking generators in the downtown area and contacting parties identified as key sources of information related to those generators or those with particular concerns that represent issues of significant impact.

 •  Conduct a survey of parking occupancy within the study area during the morning peak of 10- 11:30 on a typical midweek business day.

 •  Develop a 10-year plan that estimates a time frame for expansion of parking capacity.

Mr. Loyd requested tax money from the Urban Services fund balance, but finance committee members said they favored using sales tax money. City Attorney Stephen Shepard's office said sales tax money could be used if it is a required component of a specific capital improvement program.

Finance Committee member Commissioner Don Grantham seemed surprised that the authority had authorized the study.

"Did I hear you say you had entered into an agreement?" he asked Mr. Loyd.

Mayor Pro Tem Marion Williams said he was in favor of the study but added that the city had done a lot of studies they never did anything with.

Reach Sylvia Cooper at (706) 823-3228 or sylvia.cooper@augustachronicle.com.

What's next

Augusta Commission meeting, 2 p.m. today at the Municipal Building, 530 Greene St.