TROY — In a workshop session on Tuesday, Troy City Council reviewed options to help streamline traffic and improve downtown parking in and around the Public Square.
Following the two-and-a-half hour discussion, council agreed to have city staff look into increasing meter rates, a first-time parking violation forgiveness program, and a paid placard parking system to improve parking in and around the downtown square. The city last conducted a traffic and parking study in 1996.
The majority of council members also supported a “traffic diet” or reducing the lanes from four to three to navigate the square. The traffic pattern would mimic the “diet” that occurred during the East Main Streetscape project. The “road diet” could improve traffic flow away from the parked vehicles along the side streets of the square.
Council was split on the option to remove the stop lights at the quadrant entrances prior to entering the roundabout. If stop lights were removed, the flow of traffic and pedestrian traffic would mirror the city of Urbana’s roundabout on State Routes 36 and 68 currently.
Council member Lynne Snee asked what other signage or markings would be added to alert motorists to slow down for pedestrians prior to entering the roundabout if stop lights were to be removed.
Director of Public Service and Safety Patrick Titterington said flashing light beacons activated by pedestrians would be installed at the crosswalks as well as painted cross walk areas in the street. Titterington reminded council it is state law for motorists to yield to pedestrians in the roadways.
“You will see the costs in our recommendations for the 2018 budget,” Titterington said. Titterington also noted the increase in parking spaces from restoring the Water Street parking as well as the near completion of the Mulberry Street parking lot next to the police station will be adding parking to the downtown area.
“Spot-hopping,” moving a vehicle from one two-hour space to a nearby space to avoid a ticket, will also be monitored.
The study and presentation did not include the area of Adams and Water Street where Troy Kettering Hospital will be located.
Titterington said the city could look into adding more parking by purchasing property and making lots as they come available as a long-term solution to the parking issue.
He said although it may not be budgeted for 2018, the city could add other areas to add parking lots such as Mulberry’s lot which expanded to 120 spaces. The city paid $230,000 total for all three properties to add on to the Mulberry lot. The project is currently underway by Outdoor Enterprises who bid the project for $336,325 including alternates. The lot is expected to be complete by October.
Another option included working with the county to close off Cherry Street and expand parking options in the area as well.
A report from the workshop will be prepared prior to the next council meeting.
Nathan Fisher, a representative of Woolpert Inc., presented the first 70 pages of the 287-page study. Fisher collected data from crash reports, pedestrian counts, traffic volume in peak hours, lane utilization around the Public Square and pedestrian signal use.
The presentation also included input from 55 out of 170 business owners who took a survey online about their opinion of downtown parking issues.
In 2016, council authorized an agreement with Woolpert Inc. for the parking and traffic study for up to $60,000.