Downtown Troy parking: No tickets policy remains for now

A Troy City Council committee will continue to explore options for downtown parking after hearing a data analyst’s findings and an array of recommendations – including a different one from each of the three committee members.

In the meantime, a moratorium on tickets for time limited parking in the downtown historic district started in mid-November will continue through March. Tickets still are being issued for parking violations such illegal parking in handicapped spaces.

The moratorium was proposed to allow time for the city to study what’s the best solution for parking in the downtown area that includes the Miami County and Troy city offices along with businesses and residences.

Council’s three-member streets and sidewalks committee along with other council members, city administrators and the public Monday, Feb. 25, spent around two hours hearing from consultant Ben Elbert along with residents and business owners.

Elbert was hired for $5,300 to analyze parking data “to ensure the evaluation was impartial,” said Tim Davis, assistant city development director. Among data was monthly two-hour parking violation counts from November (collected by police parking control officer) and use of parking space based on license plates.

Elbert said he hoped his findings and recommendations would be “a good jumping off point” to finding a workable system.

Among his recommendations were creating two-hour maximum parking zones in key locations including the Public Square and near the county Courthouse; four-hour maximum parking zones for remaining spaces on Main Street and Market Street (the two main routes downtown); use of off street lots for a placard program and the remaining spaces four-hour maximum; and implement a continuous block rule to prohibit space hopping in any of the two- or four-hour maximum zones.

The recommendations from Elbert were his, not the city staff, in an effort to be objective, said Patrick Titterington, city service and safety director. “We didn’t necessarily agree with the breadth and scope of his recommendations,” he said.

Space hopping and two-hour parking limits were among major complaints received about parking over the years.

The committee heard comments from downtown residents and business owners as well as preferences of committee members.

Councilman Bobby Phillips, streets committee chairman, said another meeting would be scheduled for the committee to hear answers to questions raised during the meeting and input from the Troy Main Street downtown advocacy program. The program director was unable to attend the Monday discussion.

Phillips said the downtown parking complaints have been around for decades. “I think what we are looking for is simplicity, continuity in our downtown parking,” he said. “I think we are looking at modifying to a degree what we had before the moratorium.”

Longtime downtown business owner Margaret Begg of Bakehouse Bread Co. said her business located on the Public Square suffered during the moratorium as previous two-hour time limit spaces were filled at times all day long by the same vehicle.

Sam Weiss, owner of Genesis Graphics on North Walnut Street, said he would favor two-hour parking everywhere in the downtown because it would work for most businesses.

One problem that needs addressed, he said is the parking by business owners and employees’ long term in spaces needed for customers. “We sure can’t have free parking (continue),” he said. “We need to continually move vehicles to help the businesses. The only vehicles we need to move right now is the business owners and employees.”

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