Archive for Monday, June 5, 2017

New parking plan calls for updated payment systems, residential permits and higher fees

A line of parking meters is pictured in this file photo from May 2007.

A line of parking meters is pictured in this file photo from May 2007.

June 5, 2017

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The first draft of a city parking plan recommends dozens of changes to the way the city operates parking in and around downtown, including the addition of electronic payments, a boot and tow policy, residential permits and increased fees.

The consultant-led plan will guide the city’s development and management of parking operations and facilities over the next 10 years. Once complete, it will be the city’s first long-term parking plan.

A memo from the city manager’s office to the City Commission notes that a finding highlighted in the draft report is the city’s “relatively passive” approach to managing parking.

“The lack of a central and active management approach has hindered the city’s ability to respond to evolving expectations and needs,” the memo states.

The city’s public parking systems downtown currently include metered spaces, free two-hour lots, permitted 10-hour lots, and three parking garages. Generally, there is no requirement for new development downtown to provide additional parking, and no permitting systems are in place for the on-street parking in adjacent neighborhoods.

The memo goes on to say that the recommendations outlined in the draft 10-year plan would help the city provide a more responsive level of parking services “while remaining sensitive to factors that make Lawrence unique.”

The plan is informed by an analysis of the city’s parking system and resident feedback. The study area encompasses a dozen neighborhoods, including downtown, East Lawrence, Old West Lawrence and the Oread Neighborhood, and feedback from residents, real estate developers, business owners and downtown employees was collected.

That feedback identified a wide range of issues both downtown and in neighborhoods bordering downtown and the University of Kansas. Issues include a shortage of long-term parking downtown and spillover of parking from downtown into adjoining neighborhoods. The residential parking shortages caused by the conversion of single-family homes into apartments is also noted.

“Parking expectations and needs are diverse in the community, some are even in conflict,” the memo states. “The recommended changes represent compromise on many important issues.”

There are 29 recommendations listed in the draft parking plan. The recommendations are broken into two phases, the first of which would be of nominal cost and could be implemented within six months. The recommendations in the second phase are typically more expensive, and timelines for implementation range from one to four years.

Several of the recommendations are listed below. A full list is available on the city’s website, lawrenceks.org.

Phase I recommendations, in part:

• Establish a boot and tow policy to deal with habitual parking violators

• Establish a residential permit parking policy for the city’s neighborhoods

• Review zoning ordinance requirements regarding downtown residential parking

• Eliminate the designation of on-street parking spaces for use only by the residents of one particular property

• Forbid charter bus and other large vehicle parking within designated neighborhoods

• Replace existing 5-hour meters with 10-hour meters

• Change 15- and 30-minute meters to 2-hour meters

• Investigate the potential of adding parallel parking on the west side of Rhode Island Street

Phase II recommendations, in part:

• Add multi-space, pay-by-plate kiosks on-street, which would permit license plate enforcement, use of credit cards and cell phone payments

• Add multi-space, pay-by-plate kiosks in the off-street parking facilities

• Acquire software or develop a web portal allowing for online payment of parking violations and purchasing of monthly/annual parking permits

• Establish a monthly (overnight) permit for downtown residents in one of the garages

• Extend meter hours in active areas to 9 p.m. on weekdays and Saturdays

• Increase the rate charged on Massachusetts Street from $0.50 per hour to $1 per hour

• Increase the rate charged at 10-hour meters and 10-hour garage spaces to $0.20 per hour

• Increase permit rates from $192 per year to $240 per year

• Increase initial fines for metered/timed parking violations to $10, and on repeat offenders to $100, with booting/towing automatically after three unpaid tickets

The draft plan is being presented to the City Commission at its meeting Tuesday for feedback and additional public input. The final report will be presented for adoption at a subsequent meeting this summer.

The City Commission will convene at 5:45 p.m. Tuesday at City Hall, 6 E. Sixth St.

Comments

John Gallup 2 months, 2 weeks ago

Lawrence is not the same old little town anymore.

Bob Summers 2 months, 2 weeks ago

People in government want your money so they can make your life spiritually fulfilling and emotionally complete.

Pay up.

Tony Peterson 2 months, 2 weeks ago

No, this is just the City FINALLY addressing the elephant in the room that's been getting fatter and fatter for the last 20 years but ignored in the past with the hope that the problems would magically go away.

RJ Johnson 2 months, 2 weeks ago

There is nothing wrong with the currant system other then not addressing those who refuse to pay their fines.

They need to pay up or be towed!!

Tony Peterson 2 months, 2 weeks ago

Which currently takes a minimum of a week to happen. Have to call to report it before the tires are marked. Then takes 48 hours before a ticket is issued and ANOTHER 48 hours before it's finally towed.

Been through it over, and over, and over, and over, and over, and . . .

Tony Peterson 2 months, 2 weeks ago

There are habitual offenders who know that all they have to do is back six inches so the white grease pencil arrow the police use to mark the tires with the date and time has changed slightly. Once that happens the clock starts all over again.

Clara Westphal 2 months, 2 weeks ago

The neighborhood permit is a good idea. The commission might also consider not letting so many houses be turned into multi-unit properties. This creates problems for a neighbor.hood.

Linda Kucza 2 months, 2 weeks ago

I own a home a few blocks from downtown. Does this mean that if someone comes to my house they will need a permit to park in front of my house? Just wondering. I don't have a lot of company but...they would need a permit? I am just wondering.

Tony Peterson 2 months, 2 weeks ago

Can you or your guest find a parking spot within a block or two of your house on a regular basis? If the answer is "yes" you're outside the area where residential permit parking is being proposed.

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