Augusta-Richmond County reveals plan for parking meters downtown

Monday, October 14, 2019
News 12 at 11 o'clock

AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) -- For months, city leaders have been discussing putting parking meters in downtown Augusta. On Monday night, they unveiled the vision for the parking program.

Finding a spot to park downtown is getting harder and harder, which is why city leaders want to see the meters installed.

"I think we are 10 to 15 years behind, and we need to catch up," said William Fennoy, an Augusta-Richmond County commissioner.

The city is hoping a new app-based parking plan is a start. In the proposed plan, the paid parking area stretches bridge to bridge and is bordered by Greene and Reynolds Street.

The rates being suggested are $1.50 an hour or a $50 annual fee for residents. There is a $25 monthly fee for downtown employees.

With this program through SP+, a consulting firm hired by the city, residents can pay with cash or card and adjust your time through an app.

"This program right here will free up more space for people to come downtown and shop, wine and dine," Fennoy said.

Warren Mayo, an Augusta resident, says the city is forgetting about people who live and work downtown.

He says the times being suggested for paid parking--Monday through Saturday from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.-- won't help the situation.

"Now, you are talking about adding additional costs to individuals who actually live in that area," Mayo said. "...The only time that individuals who don't live in that area come down there is after the time that's stipulated on the meters."

Officials see paid parking like this: Opening up more spots, which opens the door for economic growth downtown.

Another idea brought up during the community forum was being able to move your car anywhere in the downtown parking area once you pay. the meter. That is not in this initial plan.

However, everything is preliminary at this time. City leaders will gather public feedback and move forward after that.

In regards to parking citations, SP+ will take care of the monitoring. The citation money goes to the city, which the city could reinvest.

The public still has a chance to weigh-in on the plans. City leaders and the parking company will meet again on Tuesday at the Augusta Chamber of Commerce.

One meeting is at 11:30 a.m. and the second is at 6 p.m.