TROY — The streets and sidewalks committee offered three different recommendations to continue to explore the downtown parking fine moratorium following a presentation by a parking analyst on Monday.
The two-hour meeting fielded comments, questions and concerns from a variety of downtown business owners, patrons, occupants and residents after the presentation.
Committee chairman Bobby Phillips said there would be another meeting following more input from Troy Main Street once they meet with their stakeholders as well as city staff input following the committee’s three recommendations.
Ben Elbert, a data scientist with CampusParc LP, presented his findings and highlighted parking “hot spots” from the city’s downtown parking fine moratorium period. Elbert said his findings — which he compiled in a 20-page report — “(do) justify some sort of system,” though he stated there would be “no perfect system” and the city would have to determine its final choice by engaging in talks with the community.
Phillips said he was in favor of the two- and four-hour parking zones. Phillips also said he’d like more information about businesses located on the side streets and how parking zones could benefit them. Phillips added that he would prefer the Cherry, Walnut and Troy Rec lots to possibly be designated as free parking lots, and said he supports more simplicity in Troy’s downtown parking.
Committee member William Lutz recommended creating two-hour max zones around the downtown Public Square and courthouse including the 0-99 blocks of East Main, West Main and East Short streets and 200 W. Water St. on the south side.
Committee member Brock Heath said the study’s findings were “complicated” and supported free parking everywhere except in the quadrant areas and supported more 15- and 30-minute parking spots in “hot spots,” which were identified as near the courthouse and the downtown quadrants.
The city began its free downtown parking program on Nov. 15. Council approved extending the parking fine moratorium through March 31 last month. A purchase order of up to $5,000 was granted for Elbert’s services.
According to the committee packet, Assistant Development Director Tim Davis’ memo to Director of Public Service and Safety Patrick Titterington recommends the following parking programs:
• Create two-hour max zones around the downtown Public Square and courthouse
• Create four-hour max zones for the remainder of Main Street and Market Street spaces
• Implement a “Continuous Block” rule which prohibits space-hopping in the two-hour and four-hour zones by considering any space in the zones to be a continuation of the time limit
• Use off-street public parking lots for implementation of a placard program, with the remaining spaces designated as four-hour max or no time limit
• Offer an initial round of 50 placards for use.
The recommendation for parking placards is to be used in lots with no more than 20 reserved spaces in any single lot. The study also recommends a 20-hour option (6 a.m. to 2 a.m.) for $25 per month for employees and a 24-hour option for $30 a month for residents.
Phillips asked for the Troy Police Department’s input on the process. Capt. Shawn McKinney said the police department’s parking officer’s main job is to patrol for the two-hour violations although “there’s a lot of other bad ways to park besides time limit enforcement ways.”
President of Council Marty Baker asked if more complaints came from businesses or customers during the moratorium. McKinney said most complaints were directed to Troy Main Street. McKinney also said there were a few people who directly complained to the parking officer about people parking all day in front of their businesses.
Titterington asked the committee members to submit their recommendations and city staff will work on clarifying questions the committee and council members had regarding their various comments about the fine moratorium.
Fine moratorium boom or bust for businesses
Business owners and downtown patrons had mixed feedback about their experiences with the fine moratorium.
Bakehouse Breads and Cookies owner Margaret Begg said the free parking led to more customer complaints about the lack of parking in front of her business in the southwest quadrant. Begg said she needed the turnover to free up spaces for easier access in and out of her storefront.
Kelly Snyder, executive director of Troy Rec, supports the free parking to allow parents to pick up and drop off their children in the center’s daycare program using the parking lot at Market and Water streets without paying a meter.
For Allison Fullenkamp, owner of samozrejme, a children’s specialty store at 123 S. Market St., the unlimited parking has been positive for her business, which she says draws customers from around the tri-state area. Fullenkamp said there’s been a noticeable uptick in business, especially those from out of town. She said she knows parking isn’t as a big an issue for her store as in other areas of downtown, but supported the free parking in her area.
(EDITOR’S NOTE: Some comments regarding the fine moratorium were excluded due to time constraints. To view the meeting in its entirety, visit the Troy Ohio USA YouTube channel.)
Reach Melanie Yingst at email@example.com