Group recommends downtown parking changes

The City of Delaware Parking and Safety Committee will consider changes to the downtown parking system based on a study released earlier this year.

The committee will hear the Downtown Parking Advocacy Committee Enforcement Group’s recommendations to extend parking enforcement hours to 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Friday instead of 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. It also recommends adding enforcement hours on Saturday from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Some downtown owners are opposed to extending the hours of enforcement, said Kelsey Scott, city economic development specialist, at an Enforcement Group’s July 17 meeting, according to the meeting minutes.

Delaware Area Chamber of Commerce President Holly Quaine informed the committee at the same meeting that the extending the hours could be viewed as too punitive.

The meeting minutes also report that some businesses may stay open to 8 p.m. if the additional enforcement hours are enacted. The group will monitor the impact on the Strand Theatre.

In addition, the Enforcement Group recommends increasing the limit of two-hour parking spaces to three hours.

And it also recommends two options to change the current fine structure for meter parking. The current fine is $40 for those who park over the limited time for two-hour parking spots. The fine for meter parking is $7 until midnight and $10 after that time.

The first recommendation would be to charge $25 for metered and non-metered parking. The other option would be to maintain the $40 fine, but increase the fine for repeat offenders with the maximum at $60.

Additionally, the group made a recommendation to change fee structure for metered parking. The proposed change would require to driers to pay 25 cents for one hour instead of offering 5 cents for 12 minutes and 10 cents for 24 minutes.

Council approved the parking study drafted by MKSK Consultants in late February. The Downtown Parking Advocacy Committee, or DPAC, consists of about 28 members including downtown property and business owners, residents and city staff. It was formed to address some of the 50 proposed changes from the implementation matrix based on the study.

The City of Delaware Parking and Safety Committee will meet at 7 p.m. Monday in council chambers at City Hall.

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By Brandon Klein

Gazette reporter Brandon Klein can be reached by email or on Twitter at @brandoneklein.