New Parking Plan Calls For More Meters

When the public voiced its displeasure with the notion of installing kiosks throughout the downtown area to govern parking, the City of Warren listened.

A public meeting is set for Tuesday night at 6 p.m. at the Slater Room of the Warren Public Library to hear the details about the revised proposal.

City Council, during a special meeting on Monday, got a sneak peek at the new model.

The crux of the changes? Approximately 200 parking spaces will remain free, 233 traditional parking meters will be installed, specifically in the downtown area, and four kiosks would be installed at the Midtown Lot.

Councilman Dr. Howard Ferguson, who also serves on the parking committee crafting the proposal, said that the revised effort is “a product that is built upon a lot of input. (We) tried to be responsive to the community.”

“The plan that we have now is decidedly different than the first one we presented,” he explained. “There is a significant reduction in the amount of revenue to be generated in the plan.”

City Intern Gregory Wilson explained the parking committee has met approximately every other week since convened in January and has examined over 80 suggestions that have come from the public.

“What was true at the beginning is true at this point,” he said. “(The City) need(s) to eliminate deficiencies and subsequent subsidies.”

The parking fund is not solvent on its own so the city has had to prop up the fund with a significant amount of general fund dollars in recent years. Part of the initiative in developing a parking plan was ending those subsidies.

Wilson said the projected revenue in the modified proposal is one-third that of the original plan.

However, “in the end it will accomplish” the goal of ending subsidy payments from the general fund to the parking fund.

“It will also allow for about 200 free spaces,” he explained. “(It) does lower the permit in the Clark St. Garage and at the Armory.”

Councilman Jim Zavinski asked about the cost of the parking meters.

Wilson said that the estimate includes the 233 meters at $800 each, the four kiosks for Midtown and installation which came in at $230,000. He said the actual cost should come in under that.

The metered parking would be $.50 for 15 minutes, $2 per hour.

Councilman Gregory Fraser, who also serves on the parking committee, said that cost was set to meet a need for distinction from the cost of the Midtown Lot, which is at $1 per hour.

The new proposal also includes an option for those who want to manage payment via a smartphone.

Wilson explained that the city could utilize an app that would allow an individual to enter their meter number and pay for an allotted amount of time electronically.

Going the app route, as opposed to actual parking meters that take credit cards, would “save the city an incredible outlay in money.”

City Manager Nancy Freenock said that administration’s intention is to bring a parking proposal before council at the June regular meeting for action.