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Downtown crowd opposes proposed parking plan


By Ginger Livingston
The Daily Reflector

Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Greenville City Council should delay planned parking fees of up to $15 in the downtown area so business owners and residents can offer suggestions, participants in a public input session said Tuesday.

A second input session is planned for 2:30 p.m. Thursday at Sheppard Memorial Library, 530 Evans St.

About 30 people, mainly people who own businesses and live in the downtown area attended Tuesday’s session.

Business owners said the proposed changes would likely drive away customers.

Corey Barrett, special events liaison with the city, said to promote better usage of downtown parking the city wants to do away with all free on-street parking. Instead, a rate of $1.75 per hour with the first hour being free is being recommended.

It’s also proposed a flat rate of $15 be charged after 10 p.m. The flat rate would offset the cost of paying private security and parking enforcement after hours.

The e-tag program, which was set up so business employees and people living downtown could use on-street parking in certain areas, also would be eliminated in favor of a new permitting system. The details were not available on Tuesday.

The recommendations Barrett presented came from a 2017 parking study. It recommended the current parking fine needs to increase from $5 to $20. With the $5 citation, it’s cheaper to get a citation than pay $6 to park all day in the parking deck located at the intersection of Fourth and Cotanche streets, Barrett said.

The recommendations were presented to the Greenville City Council during its Aug. 9 workshop. Assistant City Manager Michael Cowin said the plan was to bring recommendations to the City Council in September.

Participants in Tuesday’s meeting said the City Council should delay any action until the Downtown Merchants Association and Uptown Greenville can study and offer formal recommendations.