Troy to change some downtown parking, despite objections

Miami County commissioners aren’t thrilled by the city of Troy’s plan to change long-term parking along West Water Street next to the courthouse from unlimited to two hours.

City representatives Tim Davis and Jill Rhoades told the commissioners during a recent meeting that the parking on the south side of the street in the block along the courthouse grounds has long been intended to be two-hour parking but hasn’t been marked properly for years.

That’s about to change.

The posting of the spaces could be done in a couple of weeks, said Patrick Titterington, city service and safety director.

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Included in the change are 10 spaces on Water Street, which Commissioner John “Bud” O’Brien said had been unlimited parking since the 1990s and six parallel spaces on the west side of Short Street that were added late last year.

“I am not for the change around the courthouse but it is your streets,” O’Brien said.

Davis, city planning and zoning manager, explained that the changes follow downtown parking and traffic studies. Among the goals are to allow for more consistent enforcement and turnover of spaces.

Titterington said the changes will help “address the squatting that goes on at one of our busiest downtown ‘businesses.’”

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The study also found that a number of parking spaces had always been marked as two hours on city maps but over the years had become long-term because signs were no longer in place.

“We couldn’t enforce (the two-hour) limit because there was no signage,” he said.

The same area was part of a short-lived city experiment last year in which the city removed parking on the south side of Water Street from Adams to North Market streets and putting a bike lane in its place. The bike lane was removed and parking returned after outcry over the change, and questioning of how much the bike lane was used. Commissioners also didn’t favor the bike lane installation, which they said was done with little notice.

Notice is needed so the county courts and other agencies that direct people to certain areas to park know they need to change their message, said Leigh Williams, county commission clerk/administrator.

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“We just want to make sure we have more than a week notice … It’s hard to communicate in that period of time,” she said.

Commissioners and the city agree that a parking garage downtown — promoted off and on over the years — isn’t a feasible solution. Resident Jeff Schilling has encouraged a closer look at a garage.

Titterington said the city study said a garage isn’t warranted. The estimated cost was $2 million, along with $150,000 to $200,000 in annual operating costs.

“It could result in heavy subsidies from the city and county general fund or a fee structure that would discourage people from parking there,” he said.

The recommendation was to continue monitoring parking supply and demand.

“Every county I’ve talked to that has a parking garage wishes they didn’t have a parking garage,” O’Brien said.

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