by Geoff Fox
The parking kiosks around town are up and running and town officials are exploring ideas for allowing parking for residents along Main Street and possible 15-minute spots for businesses.
Town Manager Mike Faith said there have been questions from residents asking about parking passes for those who live along the street as well as the lot on Canal Street and the Municipal Lot.
Faith said he also talked to former mayor Ralph Salvagno who had an idea of having a 15-minute spot in front of businesses where they could run in and drop off or pick up items.
He used the example of Willie’ s Primitive where someone could use that 15-minute spot to pick up flowers.
“They wouldn’t have to pay, they wouldn’t be ticketed if they weren’t there longer than 15 minutes,” he said. “It’s just an idea.”
Faith’ s opinion was he’ d be okay with the 15-minute spots, but it would be hard to draw a line for the parking passes for Main Street.
Councilman Roland Lanehart, Jr., said people would argue they had only been there 15 minutes.
If the passes were issued, it would be for the Municipal Lot and Faith said they’d then have to decide on what the price would be.
There have already been discussions with Payngo about the passes.
Faith said with having a contract with Payngo, and their investment into the kiosks and technology, the company would need to get paid and can’t be cut out of any deal for passes.
There was also discussion of what the times would be to balance free business parking and paid parking.
It was suggested to be Monday through Saturday being 5 p.m. until 8 a.m. and on Sundays 1 p.m. until 5 p.m.
Town officials agreed they couldn’t do Main Street parking passes but could handle passes for the lots.
The current kiosks are a little spread out, but town officials said they are getting more so people don’t have to walk so far from their spot to the kiosk. New kiosks are on backorder.
Councilman David Kerns did some math during the council discussion to figure up the cost to park in a metered spot for a week.
It’s $6.75 per day to park along Main Street for a normal nine-hour day Monday through Saturday and $3 for Sunday. For all charging hours, Kerns said it would be $43.50 for a week.
“The point to that is that in a month is four times that, so now you’ re up to almost $180 for a month,” he said.
Kerns added you couldn’t discount a parking pass to the point that Payngo would not get anything out of their investment in kiosks and such.
Faith said if the passes went through Payngo, they’ d get a portion of the money with Lanehart adding the town would still get a percentage of the money.
The Municipal Lot is set for improvement with a repave, a pavilion, and better lighting, Faith added.
Mayor Tim Smith said it’s up to councilmembers how they want to move forward on parking passes.