Monday, April 2, 2007

Parking Management is Key

Downtown Augusta is choking on its own success. In 1996 when the Soul Bar and Nachos were just getting started you could stand in the middle of 10th and Broad on Saturday noon and not see more than a handful of cars. Today most of the parking is gone by early morning. Unfortunately many of the spaces are occupied by employees and residents which discourages shoppers and diners. From time to time the city funds a study which usually results in a pie in the sky approach to downtown's parking problems, but before we demolish half of the town to build parking garages why don't we first manage what we already have. For example on 9th street near the amphitheater parking is restricted around the fountain, presumably for aesthetic reasons. Yet Riverwalk is a public park funded by the very people to whom access is being denied. The parking garage at the convention center behind the Marriot is also also a public facility which loses money, so you would think that the city would have at least one sign directing visitors and locals to use it, right? Well it's not that obvious to whomever is in charge of such things. So here are my 7 simple low cost steps to better parking: (1) Use Common sense. (2) Provide safe off street parking for residents and employees. (3) Re institute metered parking in the Broad Street parking bays. (4) Enforce 2 hours parking restrictions (5) Give property owners tax abatements for providing public parking on vacant lots in high density areas. (6) Designate George Patty as Director of Downtown Parking and implement his recommendations. (7) Stop funding parking studies