robertandjill at verizon.net
robertandjill at verizon.net
Thu Sep 14 10:55:39 PDT 2006
I tried to post this yesterday, didn't seem to go through. Here are some good thoughts on alleviating the parking situation.
A MODEST PROPOSAL TO IMPROVE
DOWNTOWN MOSCOW PARKING
September 14, 2006
Many downtown merchants view the downtown Moscow parking situation as serious and threatening to their businesses. Without attempting to assign blame, here are some suggestions:
1. Limit all downtown on-street parking to two hours.
Although making parallel parking spots one hour and angle parking two hour has many advantages, it might be too confusing for visitors. Two hour parking provides plenty of time for many downtown patrons. Those that need more time could park in the three-hour Jackson Street lot.
2. Increase enforcement by penalizing drivers for removing or altering chalk marks.
Here is a quote from the Eugene, Oregon city code:
5.275 Authority to Mark Vehicles. A police officer parking control officer or community service specialist may mark motor vehicles that are parked, standing, or stopped to aid in the enforcement of parking regulations. Such mark shall be made by chalk upon the tires of the vehicle or by some other convenient method that will not injure or damage the vehicle. Marks so placed shall not be interfered with, concealed or obliterated or erased by any person other than a police officer, parking control officer, or community service specialist while the vehicle remains parked, standing or stopped at the place where the vehicle is marked.
(Section 5.276 added by Ordinance No. 19621, enacted June 12, 1989)
Such a change, particularly if it carried with it a citation more severe than an overtime violation might help in reducing the incidence of downtown scofflaws.
3. Make it a violation to park on the same street for more than two hours.
This proposed ordinance or code would keep a driver from re-starting the time by moving the car up and down the street, but would allow the car to be moved to another street to re-start the parking limits. Although speaking of blocks instead of streets, the Eugene Code addresses the issue.
5.265 Parking Time Limit. Maximum parking time limits designated by sign for a block shall apply to parking in the block not merely to parking in one or more particular parking spaces in the block. No person in charge of a vehicle may extend the permissible time for parking the vehicle in the block by causing the vehicle to be moved from one parking space to another in the block without being removed from the block. The operator of the vehicle or its registered owner shall be regarded as prima facie in charge of it.
(Section 5.265 amended by ordinance No. 16387. enacted February 14, 1972)
It is important that downtown parking be reserved for local business patrons, and not become a backdoor route for providing employee parking. Forcing those that work downtown to park outside the downtown area will benefit the entire city by improving downtown business health. A healthy downtown business district needs parking regulations that cause citizens to obey both the letter and the spirit of the regulations.
4. Accommodate downtown residents and others by allowing overnight angled parking.
There are about 130 downtown residents (about the same as New Saint Andrews Students) yet their needs are seldom considered. In addition to residents, there may, from time to time, be downtown revelers that should not drive their cars until the next morning. The city street department may complain that it needs to have no overnight parking to facilitate snow removal. Since there will be no overnight parallel parking, angle parking can be signed for snow removal and the two-hour parking allowance insures that by 10:00 AM all angle parking cars will be moved. It is time to do something good for downtown residents. The street department could work out an accommodation with downtown residents needs.
5. Rent reserved parking spaces for businesses that need to have a delivery vehicle or realtors that might need to have a vehicle ready to transport clients to a property.
The city should make some accommodation for businesses that do not have their own parking spaces but need immediate access to a vehicle in the normal course of their business. The number of spaces available for each business should probably be limited to some fraction of those employed in the business. For instance, a rented space might be made available for every five employees or fraction thereof. The rented spaces can be flagged for certain vehicles and others parking in the space would be subject to penalties. License plate numbers could be used to validate authorized users. (See below).
6. Purchase optical character recognition (OCR) equipment for parking enforcement.
OCR software and hand held computers speed up parking enforcement and drastically reduce errors. They will also eliminate many other traffic problems. Stolen cars, offenders, etc. can all be easily identified and appropriate actions taken. Revenues from parking tickets should increase until those parking in downtown are convinced to obey regulations.
7. Increase peripheral parking opportunities by adding parking lots.
Revenue from downtown parking and rented spaces may not be enough to provide sufficient revenue to purchase and maintain more parking lots. The University of Idaho now requires permits in formerly free university lots and also has been allowed to rent parking on city streets to fraternity and sorority residents. As a result, frugal students, staff and faculty who formerly could park around campus are more likely to be parking on residential streets between campus and downtown. Moscow should request that all or most of the universitys purple permit revenue be turned over to Moscow for purchase of additional parking lots between downtown and the university. Some would consider it unfortunate that the university has removed parking for Moscow citizens that pay local taxes and instead reserved the parking for students that pay no local taxes. This imbalance needs to be redressed. Additional revenues from parking violations, reserved spaces, and U of I purple parking permits and other sources should be earmarked for parking lots and enforcement costs.
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