Tougher parking limits to be asked

Tougher parking limits to be asked

April 8th, 2011 by Mike Pare in Business Around the Region

A new downtown parking ordinance aimed at easing a perceived shortage of spaces could go before city leaders by summer, an official said Thursday.

"We're making headway," Kim White, who heads the nonprofit redevelopment group River City Co., told the Chattanooga Area Chamber of Commerce's Downtown Council.

White's group is working with CARTA and city officials to revamp parking downtown.

One aim is to turn over on-street parking spaces more often, particularly in the riverfront district. Officials want to spur downtown workers who feed meters all day long to use nearby surface lots and garages instead, White said.

More than a month ago, parking prices for four downtown sites, including Unum's lot at Fourth and Cherry streets, were discounted for the workers.

Earlier this year, Unum opened another employee parking garage. It leased out several hundred spaces to a vendor who started charging for the slots that over the years had been free for night and weekend users.

Convincing downtown workers at eateries and retail sites to use the discounted spaces is slow going so far, White said. She said enforcement of two-hour parking limits on the street spaces may be needed.

Brent Matthews, CARTA's director of parking, said drafts of potential ordinances are being drawn up and sent to the city attorney. He also said new technology may be introduced downtown to aid parking solutions.