(CITY OF MORGANTOWN PRESS RELEASE) Morgantown City Council will hold a Public Hearing and a Second Reading of the new Traffic Code adjustments at its June 18 regular meeting.
Tom Arnold, Morgantown Parking Authority Director, presented the changes at the May 28th Committee of the Whole meeting. They should go into effect the day after they are approved: Wednesday, June 19.
Changes and amendments proposed are broken down into two documents, both of which were accepted after a First Reading at the June 4 regular City Council meeting:
First, an ordinance amending the part of the City Traffic Code that applies to parking meter enforcement on Sunday and holidays, and parking time limits and fees.
Second, an ordinance updating the Traffic Code as it applies to definitions and gate & pull ticket violations.
The meters you see at any parking space downtown now were installed in 1996. These meters are fairly limited – you can’t pay for parking using your credit or debit card, and the Morgantown Parking Authority cannot alter the time and usage for each lot.
To upgrade pay stations, the Parking Authority purchased six new “pay-by-space” pay stations, to be installed in the following:
Lot A: Morgantown Market Place – This lot is currently permit parking only. City Employees are going to be phased out of using this lot to allow for more permit parking for residents and downtown businesses.
Lot D: behind Daniel’s – This lot is currently a 2-hour parking lot utilizing metered spaces.
Lot E: near Bent Willey’s – Lot E is also a 2-hour parking lot with standard meters.
Arnold says that these new pay stations will allow the MPA to schedule a change in the length of time you can park. Lots D & E will be changed to accommodate 2-hour parking, as usual, from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m., but will change to 12-hour parking between 6 p.m. and 6 a.m. to allow for those who like to enjoy High Street after dark for longer than just two hours. Lot A will become open pay station 12-hour parking from 6 p.m. to 6 a.m. This technology will let drivers pay with a card or coins.
“We service 13 different groups downtown. We still have to keep that mix of parking available,” said Arnold. “This is really a nighttime thing, because our nighttime activity is as vigorous or more than our daytime. Having to handle that volume fluctuation is a challenge sometimes, but it’s a good problem to have.”
The garages currently have this technology, along with cameras and lighting for safety, but Arnold said that drivers still prefer the convenience of the metered spots, and those residents and visitors ultimately decide where money is spent in upgrades.
In response, Arnold suggested that rates for these new “pay-by-space” meters increase to $.75 during the day and $1.25 at night. Drivers’ increased costs will pay for convenience, the credit card transaction fees, and the operational fees.
At these new pay stations, drivers will pre-pay for an amount of time. You walk to the machine from your car, enter the space number, and add money for your approximate stay time. If you want to add more time, you can stop at any of the six new meters and simply increase your stay.
Arnold hinted at being able to add time from your smartphone in the future – handy if you can’t leave the restaurant to put an extra quarter in, or if your show at the Metropolitan is running longer than you expected.
The Public Hearing about these changes will be held during the June 18 City Council meeting, held in Council Chambers at City Hall, 389 Spruce Street, starting at 7 p.m.
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