Community opposes proposed metered parking
The two-hour parking signs throughout downtown Milledgeville may soon be accompanied by parking meters, but the majority of Milledgeville community members and business owners are opposed to this idea.
The proposed plan for installing metered parking would affect both Georgia College students and Milledgeville residents. Milledgeville’s City Council members pitched the idea as a way to combat the lack of available spots in the downtown area.
“This is a bad idea not only because I don’t want to have to pay to park, but because it will hurt business downtown,” said junior Sami Montigny.
At a community forum concerning the issue held at City Hall on Nov. 7, all community members who attended spoke out against the implementation of parking meters.
Only the city council members and the spokesperson from the company that would install the meters, which would cost around $6000 each, supported the idea.
“I don’t want just the luxury of finding a parking space,” said Councilman Stephen Chambers. “I want to know I have one.”
Under the proposed plan, the city would install parking meters along portions of Montgomery Street, Greene Street, Clarke Street and Jefferson Street.
“[The plan] will promote parking turnover and generate revenue,” said Milledgeville City Planner Hank Griffeth. The city has been conducting studies on Milledgeville’s parking landscape and brainstorming possible solutions
to the lack of parking spots since July 2015.
“At least nine months out of the year, we don’t have enough parking spaces downtown,” Griffeth said at the
community forum. “This should maximize the number of patrons that can come into town.”
The city aims to use the money generated from the parking meters for the beautification of downtown Milledgeville. Community members who attended the City Hall community forum pushed for this revenue to go towards building a parking deck instead.
“We know the solution is more spaces, but just turning over doesn’t necessarily dictate anything better,” said Iona Cruey Holder, who has co-owned Blackbird with her husband for 14 years. “More spaces and a parking deck would actually be used because there wouldn’t be a two-hour limit to my being able to hang out downtown.”
In addition to the timed, metered parking, the plan may include free parking for 15 minute errands and a lease payment system for business owners to ensure parking for themselves.
GC SGA President Mike Muller is opposed to the leasing system, which he says means business owners will have to pay to work downtown.
“If I want to park downtown, I have to pay this fee or this leasing,” Muller said. “If you work a minimum wage job, that’s lowering how much you’re making. You’d probably be under the minimum wage.”
A GC student-led petition against the metered parking plan has received more than 3,500 signatures online.
Many other business owners, residents and students also emphasized the impact this proposition could have on business.
“My concern, and trying to not make it personal, is that if I, as a shopper, want to come downtown and look for a new something to wear, I don’t know how long I’m going to park,” Holder said. “What if it takes me five hours? It’ll just be easier to go to the mall—and I don’t want that to be so easy.”
Griffeth said that some of the metered parking zones would allow up to four hours of parking, but that the majority would be two-hour parking zones.
“Some students have two, three classes at a time,” Holder said. “If students do get caught staying in their two-hour spot they’re paying a fine because they stayed in class.”
At this time, the city council has not confirmed whether the plan will be put into action, and council members say the issue is still up for debate.
The city council said it should make in January 2018, and the parking meters could potentially be implemented by March 2018.