Committee OKs free parking for limited time

Untimed spaces a “gift” from Nov. 15-Feb. 1

By Melanie Yingst -

TROY — The city of Troy will explore free downtown parking during a period beginning Thursday through January 2019, putting a moratorium on time-limited downtown parking.

Following nearly an hour of discussion at the streets and sidewalks committee, Director of Public Service and Safety Patrick Titterington modified the city’s recommendation to begin free downtown parking on Thursday, Nov. 15, through Saturday, Feb. 2, 2019. Titterington said the time frame would allow city staff to collate issues that may arise during the moratorium, which coincides with the holiday season.

Titterington said the city would collect data on the moratorium’s impact on traffic and parking and would seek input from police and Troy Main Street. Titterington said following the moratorium, city council could seek to extend the study for more time to research free downtown parking as a whole.

Council doesn’t meet until Nov. 19, but due to the support of council, the resolution can be made retroactively next week.

The recommendation also prohibits J-turns and adds a section to clarifying parking to prohibit sticking out of a travel lane.

Citations will still impact motorists who park outside of lanes, do not move within 72 hours or illegal park in handicap spaces among other parking issues.

Committee member Bill Lutz said he was concerned with changing the parking rules during a short window of a time and suggested a longer period of time to eliminate confusion. Lutz later said he supports the moratorium as long as council had the option for an extension if needed.

Heath also asked downtown business owners, customers, and property owners to provide feedback during the parking moratorium.

Chairman Bobby Phillips urged business owners and Troy Main Street to educate employees on parking away from the store and business fronts. Phillips also said the study would only be successful if employees freed up prime spaces for customers and patrons to use more accessible spots to get an accurate picture for the free parking moratorium.

Following various comments from downtown business owners and patrons, Nicole Loy, executive director of Troy Main Street, said she’d gather various feedback. She also reminded the audience that each street and quadrant in downtown Troy has various and unique needs. She also urged everyone to review the Woolpert Inc. downtown parking study which the city commissioned in 2016. The study led to the Public Square’s road diet and elimination of the stoplights in the intersections of the square.

Business owners and downtown regulars shared mixed reviews about the proposal.

Jack Weiss, a business owner on North Walnut Street, said business owners and employees parking in areas meant for customers and spot hopping are key issues. He said the current parking program is “the best we’ve ever had.”

Another business owner said he doesn’t have time to police employees with parking issues due to the shortage of labor in the restaurant sector.

One business owner said the busiest time of the year is the upcoming holidays and drops off until spring. She supported the longer term of a parking moratorium.

• The streets and sidewalks committee also agreed to recommend a contract with Strand Inc. for the design work for the West Main Street corridor project from Cherry Street to Interstate 75. The contract is not to exceed $2,030,000. The project will likely be split into two phases. The scope of the project is to widen the road, sidewalks, curbs, stormwater, traffic signal configuration, and a median in the area of Elm and Adams Street. Titterington said the city has applied for several grants including $2.5 million of safety grants and $6 million in MVRPC state and federal grants. The fund balance may also be covered in a bond. Emergency legislation is not required.

Untimed spaces a “gift” from Nov. 15-Feb. 1

By Melanie Yingst