TROY — Troy City Council’s Streets and Sidewalks Committee deferred a recommendation on Monday on two new downtown parking programs to gather more feedback and information.
Committee chairman Bobby Phillips requested another committee meeting in the coming weeks to be held following an hour long discussion from city staff, Troy Police Department and several downtown business owners and patrons.
The first program, the Amnesty Program, would work as a one-time forgiveness program to help educate visitors who are not familiar with the city of Troy’s downtown parking regulations. Drivers who are ticketed can have their ticket voided at the police station if they can provide $25 worth of proof of purchase within the 13-block downtown business area. The proposed program also seeks to increase the parking fine from $20 to $25 beginning in 2020.
The second program, the Placard Program, would lease 40 out of the 45 spaces in the South Cherry Street lot and 30 out of 75 spaces out of the Walnut Street lot. The cost would be $300 per year to have the dedicated parking space. The South Cherry Street lot would keep five spaces as 2-hour parking and feature two handicapped spaces. The Walnut Street lot would keep 28 spaces open for the Troy Police Department for its personnel use and 12 as hourly parking spaces with handicapped use.
Tim Davis said both programs would have a pilot year to assess the impact on the downtown parking issues.
Council member Bill Lutz asked how many tickets are issued to people out of town. Capt. Joe Long said he would look into finding that information to present to the committee. Phillips asked much time the police department spends on parking tickets. Long said violators use the drop box to pay the ticket or they come into the station as many as four to five times a day, more or less, depending on the day. Long said the programs are new to the department so they are unable to provide an estimated time constraint in verifying tickets and its qualifying purchases if the Amnesty Program was to be implemented.
Director of public service and safety Patrick Titterington said parking tickets and the meters generate $49,000 a year in revenue.
The 2018 projected expenses for the parking program, including enforcement officer, is $88,888. The proposed placard program, if all spots are sold, would generate $21,000, which Titterington said would help parking patrol and meter reading costs. Titterington said the city would track how many spaces were freed up in the downtown area around the Public Square and also consider increasing the hourly limit as it tracks the program over a period of six months to a year.
Council member Bill Lutz questioned if the placard program would raise $21,000, why is the city proposing to increase the parking ticket fines by $5.
Planning and zoning manager Tim Davis said the proposed $5 increase would be deferred until 2020 until the city sees how the placard program is received and then revisit the parking fine increase, which would cover the administrative costs associated with the program.
Troy Main Street Executive Director Nicole Loy said a walking survey showed downtown businesses state the main issue for their patrons is the two-hour time limit constraints.
Downtown business owner of samozrejme, Allison Fullenkamp, said her business is a destination stop for many families around the region who spend hours in her store and then shop and dine in downtown during their stay. Fullenkamp also said she’ll keep customer’s keys to move their vehicles so they can focus on their outing and not ruin their visit with a ticket. Fullenkamp said parking isn’t an issue for her South Market Street business, just the time limit for patrons to visit her store as well as others up and down the block.
Downtown business owner Laurie Winan Rieser said people often don’t keep their receipts as in the case of a coffee transaction. She also said the 72-hour window before the ticket fine goes up isn’t enough time to find receipts to prove they were spending money in downtown in order to receive the one-time forgivable ticket. She also said the proposed increase of a parking ticket from $20 to $25 was “appalling.”
“People will get mad and never come back,” she said.
She shared how she was on vacation in Florida and received a notice from a police officer of a parking violation, but was excused from the ticket due to her being from out of town. She said it was just a friendly reminder of their rules and she walked away from the experience with a positive impression of the vacation destination and its customer-friendly service.
Resident Bryan Kemper said the two-hour limit and parking availability is an issue when he visits local coffee shops such as Pure Bred on South Main Street. He also noted potential problems with North Cherry Street residents having to move their vehicles due to downtown events like the farmers market and it being a hassle not being able to use the dedicated lot across the street from their property
Another person stated she wouldn’t be comfortable sharing credit card statements with the police officers to show proof of purchase to receive the ticket waiver.
Other items, include prohibiting “J-Turns,” addressing vehicles parking outside of painted lines on city streets, and adding language to the ordinance regarding angled parking were discussed. A “J-Turn” is when a person crosses a double-lined lane to park on the opposite side of the street.
A committee meeting will be announced at a later date to revisit the parking programs.