Changes proposed to improve downtown parking

A parking committee consisting of city councilmen Bob Roberts and Steve Skok and City Manager Dave Greene recently held its second meeting with area residents to discuss proposed changes to parking in the downtown area as the parking garage being constructed downtown is nearing completion. One of the general recommendations mentioned by Roberts was that in order to obtain a permit to park in one of the designated areas throughout the downtown area, residents would have to pay a $5 premium for a total permit cost of $15. However, the cost for a permit to park in the parking garage would be $10. The permits would be valid from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. Along with this, parking would be prohibited on streets and in the city's parking lots between 2 a.m. and 6 a.m. to allow for easy access for tasks such as sweeping or snow removal. Another proposed plan also calls for all of the parking meters to be removed from the Detsch parking lot and the area converted into a premium parking lot during designated hours. Parking in that area would be free for residents after 6 p.m. Greene also indicated that, once the parking garage is open for use, all city employees will begin parking there. "It's going to free up a lot of spaces [along the streets]," Greene said of the plan to have city employees utilize the garage. One other area that will feature additional short-term parking will be along Erie Avenue. Roberts said that a plan created by Steve Samick for Erie Avenue several years ago is being considered and would result in the creation of 11 new parking stalls. "The stalls that are back there are 30 feet long. A lot of time when you go back there, you see two cars in the same parking spot," Roberts said. The spots would likely all have two-hour parking meters. Roberts also indicated that the 15-minute parking meter located along that roadway would also potentially be removed at the request of the business owner and replaced with a two-hour meter as well. Two loading zones located along Erie Avenue could also be removed. "There's all kinds of detriments along Erie Avenue, so this will increase 11 parking spaces. That should certainly help that situation," Roberts said. Additional parking may also soon be available in the city's parking lot along Brusselles Street.