Fayetteville city staff recommends tweaks to the paid parking plan

After a three-month review of the paid parking plan, Fayetteville city staff revealed their recommendations for a handful of changes to the program during Tuesday’s city council agenda session.

The recommendations consist of a few “tweaks” that staff believes will improve parking convenience in the Dickson Street area.

Council members will take the week to consider the changes before discussing them at their next regular meeting on Tuesday, Dec. 7.

“We’ll have a full presentation on Tuesday,” said Fayetteville Chief of Staff Don Marr. “We’re tracking weekly parking revenue, citation revenue, transactions, and projected transactions.”

Marr said there are also other items staff is looking at changing that may not require ordinance revisions. For example, staff has been asked to address some equipment issues and to provide cost estimates for parking kiosk weather covers.

“I think these changes display flexibility on the part of the city,” said Ward 3 alderman Bobby Ferrell after reviewing the proposed amendments. “I have forwarded some things to Don – questions and comments from citizens – and there’s implementation shown here.”

Below is a brief explanation of each recommendation as printed in the council’s agenda packet:

Keep the start time at 2 p.m.

When the program first began, paid parking began at 10 a.m. Shortly afterwards, a group of Dickson area business owners complained that the plan was hurting business, particularly during lunch hours. In order to provide some immediate relief, the council temporarily moved the start time to 2 p.m. to allow free parking during lunch until the three-month review was complete.

Revenue projection reports indicate this four-hour change will lead to an estimated annual loss of $80,000 per year for the city, but the recommendation is to keep the start time at 2 p.m. “due to the positive affect it has had on the businesses in the Entertainment District.”

Also recommended is a change that will move the paid start time from 1 p.m. to 2 p.m. on Sunday to match Monday through Saturday.

Change a few streets to pay or non-pay areas

St. Charles Avenue – Recommendation is to eliminate pay parking “making it free all day and night.”
Campbell Avenue – Since there is “no room for on-street parking,” staff recommends removing it from the plan entirely.
Locust Avenue – Recommendation is to remove Locust Avenue “as it is all residential only.”
Powerhouse Avenue – Staff recommends designating the five on-street spaces just off Dickson Street as pay parking.

Change the maximum daily fee to $5 (all day and night)

Currently, the maximum rates are $3 during the day and $5 at night. Staff is proposing a maximum rate of $5 for the entire day and night combined.

Eliminate the monthly daytime parking pass program for the gated lots

This program was designed to offer the option for people to purchase a $35 monthly pass that would allow them to park in the gated lots from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. With the paid start time potentially being permanently changed to 2 p.m., this plan would actually be more expensive than just paying the regular fee. As a result, and because nobody has signed up for it yet, staff recommends removing it from the plan.

Simplify the fine amounts

Currently, the fines for violating the paid parking rules are $10 for the first offense, $15 for the second offense and $25 for each subsequent violation.

Staff is recommending implementing a flat fee of $15 per offense. According to the staff reports, this “will be less confusing and more acceptable to the public, reduce the number of related complaints, and alleviate a complicated bookkeeping process for tracking these tickets.”