Troy to offer unique deal to offenders to curb downtown parking issues

Troy city leaders dealing with parking and traffic issues want to try a unique one-time amnesty program for drivers who stay too long but can prove they were spending money downtown.

They also would offer reserved parking in lots to open more spaces on streets nearest businesses.

The proposals were called part of a “work in progress” by Patrick Titterington, city service and safety director. An increase in parking ticket fines from $20 to $25 has also been proposed, but would not take effect until 2020.

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The amnesty program would be the first administrators know of in the state, said Tim Davis, city staff member. It would give those who inadvertently park too long a one-time chance to have the $20 ticket voided by the Troy Police Department if the driver can show at least $25 was spent that day in the downtown area. Tickets would include information to educate on parking regulations.

Business owners and Nicole Loy, the Troy Main Street downtown advocacy organization director, commented during the meeting. Council was told business owners surveyed said the biggest concern is the two-hour time allowed for free parking, which is not part of these recommendations.

“My concern is what impression we are giving our visitors and what kind of hospitality we are practicing,” said Lindsay Woodruff, owner of Pachamama Market on South Market Street.

A city council committee reviewed the proposals at a recent meeting before delaying a recommendation. Members wanted to allow time to review information and hear more comments. The next discussion was not scheduled.

A proposed placard program would offer a reserved parking space in either the South Cherry Street lot or the South Walnut Street lot for $300 a year. Seventy placard spots are proposed.

The intent is to open parking spaces on the street and offer people regularly downtown — business owners, employees, residents — a personal parking space to avoid driving around looking for a spot, Davis said.

Laurie Reiser of Winans Chocolates and Coffees downtown questioned taking away spaces customers now use in the Cherry Street lot. She called the proposed ticket increase “kind of appalling,” saying she would be concerned people ticketed wouldn’t come back downtown.

The amnesty program received a better review from Reiser, who said she received a ticket in Florida under an amnesty program that allowed up to 60 days to provide proof of the spending instead of 72 hours the city allows to pay tickets.

The city parking and traffic study was conducted in 2016 with recommendations recommendations implemented so far such as removing traffic lights at the Public Square and a road diet intended to better traffic flow.

Staff recommended deferring for now other recommendations including an increase in the two-hour timed parking spaces, adding ordinance language to prohibit space hopping and a long-talked about construction of a parking garage.

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