Greig McCully has owned a Broad Street business for four years, and he feels two hour parking limits hurt downtown. “We need to make it as easy for customers from all over the area to come to Broad street and spend as much time as they want we should not be limiting them to two hours,” says McCully.
It's been two hour parking downtown since the 1970's, but after new parking signs went up last week, some downtown businesses got caught by surprise, and went before Augusta Commissioners for relief, especially on upper Broad Street between, 10th Street and 13th Street.
“They went up Monday, about 9:30 or 10:00, and then the police came, at lunch time, chalking ties getting ready to give tickets out,” said Donald Thorstad, of Johnson Laschober & Associates, which has an office with 27 employees in the 1200 block of Broad Street.
At the direction of the commission The Deputy City Administrator, the Traffic Engineer, and two Richmond County Sheriff's Office representatives, including Chief Deputy Patrick Clayton, met to discuss options for downtown parking.
With complaints about enforcement, some Commissioners are suggesting ending the two hour limit.
But, downtown developer Paul King says that' a bad idea.
“We need turn over, we need to bring in customers, people drive down Broad Street see no place to park I get phone calls from relatives telling me I want to go to the New Moon Cafe, I can't find a place to park we can't have these all day parkers on Broad Street,” said King.
“I've had people who work in other shops park in front of my shop all day long, it should be a customer's spot,” says businesses owner Ooollee Bricker.
“I think their employees should be parking off Broad Street, like mine. We park our building on Ellis [Street],” says McCully.
“Can we just look at a plan, and not just jerk things around like this? I know there's a compromise that can be reached,” says King.
“I think we need to bring it in a little piece of a timed two hour limit on the sidewalk, no limit in the center,” says Bricker.
“I'm certainly open to compromise, as long as it's something that keeps the cars turning over during the day and stop the blockade,” says King.
It's another try to solve the downtown parking problem, something the city hasn't been able to limit.
The Deputy Administrator's parking group will recommend Commissioners ease enforcement of the parking rules while the Commission appoints a downtown parking committee of business owners and other stakeholders downtown to come up with a long term parking solution.
But that's something that's been attempted for years, including a call for parking meters, and The City Administrator's proposal to establish a parking patrol that Commissioners rejected.