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Parking On Dickson Street … The Skinny

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If things go as planned, there won’t be any free parking within several blocks of Dickson Street before summer’s end.
If you haven’t heard the commotion yet, perk up and read a newspaper or a blog. The city wants to convert downtown to paid parking by July. Yes, this July.
At a public input meeting a few weeks ago, city parking manager Sharon Crosson announced that the parking fees would likely range from 50 cents to $1 an hour, with a $5 max cap on all-night parking.
These figures are preliminary, but seem fair. There is also talk of a no-pay window in the morning hours to relieve patrons of trying to drive home intoxicated.
Maps were given to those who attended the meeting so they could see the big picture. Dickson Street, Spring Street, School Avenue and parts of Watson Street and Lafayette Street will all have meters. The city hopes to limit the distance a patron needs to walk to re-up the meters by having “pay stations.”
The blocks surrounding Boles Street and Meadow Street would be designated as residential parking. Crosson said guest permits might be issued to residents, but there would be a limit to how many times this “free” parking would be permitted. Guests of residents would always be welcome to pay for their stay.
The city is reviewing plans to issue parking passes for those who work in the downtown area. There may be a lot designated for workers to park and discounted fees or a voucher system where the business is compensated by the city.
The larger lots, like the lot at West Avenue and Dickson Street and the lot between Dickson Street and Watson Street would be converted to gated paid parking. Now calm down; gated just means regulated. Exactly how these lots would operate is being examined. A pay-as-you-leave method may suffice, so one pays for the time used.
Also suggested was a reservation system, where one could go online, purchase a parking spot for the night and print out a bar code receipt designated to one of the lots. There would be an expiration time on the ticket, so if you didn’t arrive within the time window you intended, the pass would be void. This certainly has benefits and drawbacks.
One of the most uncertain factors is the cooperation of the private lot owners in the area — oh, and the public. The city would regulate the private lots, which means the owners wouldn’t have to patrol the lots and hire tow companies. These lots would be monitored and ticketed by the city, which should mean less towing. As it stands, the city can’t issue parking citations in private lots. Violators would likely wind up with a $20 parking ticket instead of an $80 to $120 impound fee.
OK, that’s the fat; here’s the skinny: When this article publishes, there will only be one public meeting left and it’s at 3 p.m. today. So, go to Room 111 at City Hall, 113 W. Mountain St., to find out more. Do a Web search for “Dickson St. Parking Fayetteville AR” and read up so you can add your opinion. The city council hopes to vote on the proposal this month.
Most of those who oppose the plan question the need for paid parking and the city’s hand in regulating it. For example, the manager of Underwood’s new parking deck says the lot offers plenty of reasonably priced parking that isn’t fully utilized. They even offer a $38 a month student special. That is only the tip of the disparity in the city’s claim for need.

The city claims paid parking in downtown will generate revenue to build a parking deck and also relieve the general fund. The plans are to secure bonds for the construction and maintenance of the parking deck.

The Kruth Talks

By Amber Kruth

If things go as planned, there won’t be any free parking within several blocks of Dickson Street before summer’s end.

If you haven’t heard the commotion yet, perk up and read a newspaper or a blog. The city wants to convert downtown to paid parking by July. Yes, this July.

At a public input meeting a few weeks ago, city parking manager Sharon Crosson announced that the parking fees would likely range from 50 cents to $1 an hour, with a $5 max cap on all-night parking.

These figures are preliminary, but seem fair. There is also talk of a no-pay window in the morning hours to relieve patrons of trying to drive home intoxicated.

Maps were given to those who attended the meeting so they could see the big picture. Dickson Street, Spring Street, School Avenue and parts of Watson Street and Lafayette Street will all have meters. The city hopes to limit the distance a patron needs to walk to re-up the meters by having “pay stations.”

The blocks surrounding Boles Street and Meadow Street would be designated as residential parking. Crosson said guest permits might be issued to residents, but there would be a limit to how many times this “free” parking would be permitted. Guests of residents would always be welcome to pay for their stay.

The city is reviewing plans to issue parking passes for those who work in the downtown area. There may be a lot designated for workers to park and discounted fees or a voucher system where the business is compensated by the city.

The larger lots, like the lot at West Avenue and Dickson Street and the lot between Dickson Street and Watson Street would be converted to gated paid parking. Now calm down; gated just means regulated. Exactly how these lots would operate is being examined. A pay-as-you-leave method may suffice, so one pays for the time used.

Also suggested was a reservation system, where one could go online, purchase a parking spot for the night and print out a bar code receipt designated to one of the lots. There would be an expiration time on the ticket, so if you didn’t arrive within the time window you intended, the pass would be void. This certainly has benefits and drawbacks.

One of the most uncertain factors is the cooperation of the private lot owners in the area — oh, and the public. The city would regulate the private lots, which means the owners wouldn’t have to patrol the lots and hire tow companies. These lots would be monitored and ticketed by the city, which should mean less towing. As it stands, the city can’t issue parking citations in private lots. Violators would likely wind up with a $20 parking ticket instead of an $80 to $120 impound fee.

OK, that’s the fat; here’s the skinny: When this article publishes, there will only be one public meeting left and it’s at 3 p.m. today. So, go to Room 111 at City Hall, 113 W. Mountain St., to find out more. Do a Web search for “Dickson St. Parking Fayetteville AR” and read up so you can add your opinion. The city council hopes to vote on the proposal this month.

Most of those who oppose the plan question the need for paid parking and the city’s hand in regulating it. For example, the manager of Underwood’s new parking deck says the lot offers plenty of reasonably priced parking that isn’t fully utilized. They even offer a $38 a month student special. That is only the tip of the disparity in the city’s claim for need.

The city claims paid parking in downtown will generate revenue to build a parking deck and also relieve the general fund. The plans are to secure bonds for the construction and maintenance of the parking deck.

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