Get to know that image in the above photo; it is about to become part of your life if shopping or dining in downtown Rome. That’s because paid parking on Broad Street is a City Commission vote away from happening, and odds are a majority of the nine-member commission will approve it barring a public groundswell usually seen when East Rome fights zoning changes off Turner McCall.
In a rare Tuesday meeting of the Downtown Development Authority, a majority of members voted to move ahead with plans to use meters on Broad Street from 10 a.m. until 8 p.m. Monday through Saturday with the first hour free. After that, prices start at a dollar per hour and increase every 60 minutes. In exchange, parking in the downtown decks will be free (excluding those currently paying for reserved parking on the lower levels).
It was not a unanimous vote by the board. The Rome News reports the 4-2 split went as follows: Yes votes from Connie Sams, Megan Watters, Bob Blumberg and David Prusakowski; no votes from Ballard Betz and Jay Shell.
The plan approved by the DDA on Tuesday mostly mirrors the latest option presented in the debate that has split Broad Street merchants and the community for much of 2018. It follows several public information sessions as well, which were used to draw additional feedback and ideas.
The plan that goes to the City Commission, perhaps by the May 21 meeting:
- First hour: free.
- Second hour: $1
- Third hour: $2
- Fourth and higher: $5 per hour.
Currently, streetside customers have two hours of free parking and then are required to leave (or move as many do).
Downtown and city leaders have pledged to put the parking revenue into an “enterprise fund for future parking needs and improvements such as downtown signage, crosswalk lighting, shuttle service, etc. The parking decks will have improved parking directional signs and increased monitoring and enforcement.”
For questions, contact Parking Services Manager Becky Smyth at 706-236-4458, email@example.com.
To comment a City Commission, please click here and then the commissioners you wish to contact. Each profile comes with a phone number and email address.
Media release: The City of Rome Downtown Development Authority approved a new parking plan today to present to the Rome City Commission. The expanded Free Parking Program Plan serves to enhance overall parking in Downtown Rome, increase the amount of free parking downtown and eliminate the two-hour parking limit. The plan also includes enhancements to the safety, cleanliness and access to downtown parking decks.
The program restructures the current allocation of 412 free parking spaces to more than 1,400 free parking spaces. Currently, 1,000 spaces are allocated as “pay for parking” and are located in decks and surface lots throughout the downtown area. Free parking would be available at all public parking decks to include Third Avenue, Fourth Avenue and Sixth Avenue decks.
The expanded program provides an hour of free on-street parking. It eliminates the two-hour parking limit and shifts to unlimited street parking. On-street parking costs are as follows:
- First hour is free
- Second hour is $1
- Third hour is $2
- Fourth hour on is $5 per hour
- The hours of focus for paid parking: Monday through Saturday, from 10 a.m. until 8 p.m.
By opening up the decks for free parking, more on-street parking will become available. It eliminates the need for patrons to circle blocks searching for on-street parking. Additionally, the new parking plan enables and encourages downtown patrons to spend more time downtown, and eliminates the need for patrons to move their vehicles.
The roll-out of the parking plan calls for new digital signage at Parking Decks and directional signage on Broad Street. Up-to-the-minute parking options will be posted on a new Downtown Parking app. A new parking website will provide multiple resources for parking from maps, to app information to news. Click for expanded release.