Authority meets with downtown merchants on parking proposal

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Proponents for a new downtown parking management plan sat down with downtown merchants this morning.

The merchants’ message was enforcement before meters.

The Downtown Development Authority of Augusta is continuing its outreach about a plan to manage Broad Street parking, which has a controversial component of installing parking meters.

David Hutchison, president of the Downtown Augusta Alliance, said he believes enforcement should be a low-cost the first step to improving the situation.

Hutchison, who run Book Tavern on Broad Street, said he would like to see an implementation plan that would incorporate parking meters if all other steps have been exhausted.

DDA executive director Margaret Woodard said the DDA has drafted ordinances regarding improved parking fine enforcement. They are currently being reviewed by the city’s law department.

Enforcement is being modeled off of Charlotte, N.C., she said, using a system of mediation to collect fines.

About 25 downtown merchants attended the morning meeting, raising other issues such as creating more parking places by switching parallel spots to angular spots and better enforcement on Saturdays.

Woodard said one of the common themes in questions about the parking management system have been where employees and residents would park if on-street spaces become metered.

She said that the next public meeting, Feb. 4, would address that concern with a better map of off-Broad Street downtown parking.

In December, the DDA board approved a proposal to implement a new parking management system that called for spending $1 million to install smart meters that would monitor 1,000 spaces in the Broad Street corridor.

Much of the meeting with the Downtown Augusta Alliance did not center around the meters.

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MyTake 01/20/10 - 12:33 pm
Nice that DDA can finally ask

Nice that DDA can finally ask somebody what they think.

disssman 01/20/10 - 09:13 pm
Hey "proponents" I live in

Hey "proponents" I live in the consolidated city of Augusta and pay taxes. Since when did the downtown streets become the exclusive property of downtown merchants? What about actually publishing what her latest proposal is and finding out the total cost which is going to be massive and well beyond 1 million dollars. Finally, as I understand it the law department is already swamped with work, who authorized the department to expend efforts on this idea which has not been approved by the commission? Talk about Chiquita wasting money, this is a travesty in comparison.

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