DDA discusses downtown parking 2018

DDA members David Prusakowski, left, and Evie McNiece discuss parking issues with the DDA Board Thursday. (Doug Walker, RN-T)

The changes being considered include the elimination of time limits for parking anywhere in the downtown area, free deck parking, kiosk-paid parking on Broad Street that would include as much as a 15 minute grace period at the time a driver initially parks and registers his or license plate with the kiosk, improved signage that will illustrate lot and space availability and pedestrian safety improvements.

The plan now under consideration would call for the Broad Street parking to cost $1.25 an hour for the first three hours and $3 an hour from hour four on. Payments would be made by Smartphone app, credit or debit cards, or coin.

The system would use license plate reader technology for enforcement purposes with hours of enforcement remaining essentially the same as is currently the case, Monday through Saturday from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.

"We know we need changes," said City Commissioner and DDA Vice Chairwoman Evie McNiece. Board member Megan Watters said, "I think it's a very approvable plan."

Enforcement fines would start with $10 for the first violation, followed by $25, then $50 and $100 for the fourth and each subsequent violations.

The panel is also considering the feasibility of booting cars after a fourth unpaid violation. DDA member Connie Sams said she preferred having a vehicle towed after that fourth unpaid violation because the mere sight of a boot on a vehicle creates a bad image for visitors to the city.

DDA Chairman Bob Blumberg stressed that the proposals which are under consideration are not locked in stone at this point, and that it is important to get public input before anything is taken to the City Commission for final approval.

The DDA also approved a $2,000 facade grant for Harry Brock, who is changing the look of the front of his building at 412 Broad St.