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Metered parking moves forward

City likely will need to obtain 25-30 meters

Posted: Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Juneau is moving toward metered parking downtown.

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Michael Penn / Juneau Empire
Michael Penn / Juneau Empire

The Assembly gave Community Development Department Senior Planner Ben Lyman its tacit approval to move forward with a comprehensive parking plan for downtown that will likely mean meters for on-street parking, and cheaper, though not free, parking for its downtown garages at a joint meeting with the Planning Commission Monday evening.

Lyman said though he is currently working on an analysis of how many parking spaces there are downtown and their limitations (such as whether or not they are van accessible) the city would likely need to obtain between 25 and 30 meters. As of a recent inventory, there were 833 spaces managed by the city in the downtown core, including 237 spaces in the Downtown Transportation Center which are not yet available.

Lyman said depending on the model and features of the meter, which he said should be able to pay by license plate, each could cost around $13,000. One way to do it while impacting the city's strapped budget as little as possible is to lease the meters, he said.

Currently, the plan calls for:

• Free parking for first two hours in a 24-hour period for all city-managed spots, managed by license plate number.

On-street:

• $2 per hour for each additional hour; time limit to be established

Marine Park/downtown library parking garage:

• $0.50 for each additional hour; 4-hour limit eliminated

• $30-per-month pass in winter, $60-per-month pass in summer

Second and Franklin Lot:

• $1-per-hour for each additional hour, 4-hour limit eliminated

• $60 per month pass

• Possible relocation of legislative parking to Downtown Transportation Center

Downtown Transportation Center:

• $.50 per hour for next two hours

• $1 per hour for each additional hour

• $60-per-month pass

• Legislative parking relocated

Lyman said as garage parking is less convenient than on-street parking, it should be priced lower. Free parking in garages, however, would likely mean too many state workers would end up parking in the more convenient Downtown Transportation Center instead of in state lots, which would edge out the average user and mean empty spaces in state lots.

Lyman said the "ideal" occupancy rate for parking is 80 to 85 percent. He also said while variability makes revenue difficult to estimate, it would likely be more than $1 million - and possibly more than $2 million - annually.

In 2009, the Juneau Police issued 7,529 on-street parking citations, for a total of $189,800 in fines. They issued 563 off-street parking citations average between 2007 and 2009, for an average of $35,803 in fines. The contractor in charge of the library parking garage issued a projected 420 citations for a total of $10,500 in fines, and fees for off-street parking total around $169,500 annually, Lyman said.

The city spends around $247,000 per year on operations, maintenance and enforcement, not including police or Docks and Harbors enforcement.

The draft 2011-2016 Capital Improvement Plan includes $200,000 a year for parking management.

The Planning Commission, the Downtown Business Association, and the city's Public Works and Facilities Committee all support on-street parking meters, and Lyman said most of the feedback he's received from the community on the idea has been supportive. This plan follows meetings with the public and the recommendation of the Downtown Parking Management Working Group, composed of representatives from various city departments and state agencies.

Some Assembly members indicated they thought two hours of free parking was too high. Members of the Planning Commission and Assembly both indicated the plan could help with downtown revitalization.

• Contact reporter Mary Catharine Martin at 523-2276 or maryc.martin@juneauempire.com.



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