By John Schaffner
johnschaffner@reporternewspapers.net

Drivers in Buckhead can expect to see new parking meters along several streets soon and the start of enforcement of parking regulations by ticketing, booting of wheels, towing and fines.

Eleven new meters are scheduled to be installed on Roswell Road in front of the new Buckhead Theatre. Another 59 are slated to be placed along both sides of East Andrews Drive — unless Dist. 8 Atlanta City Councilwoman Yolanda Adrean stops them with a new ordinance she has introduced to council.

Faced with the end of a moratorium that stopped PARKAtlanta from issuing parking citations for 30 days, the Atlanta City Council on June 7 passed a resolution 12-0 that will immediately implement 14 recommendations to improve parking enforcement procedures.

Meters will be installed and enforcement was to begin again at the end of the moratorium, which ended at 11:59 p.m. on Thursday, June 10.

Under changes made by the council, overnight enforcement of parking meters has been completely scrapped – at least for the time being. Instead, the city has implemented a 7 a.m.-to-7 p.m. enforcement period from Monday to Friday. On Saturdays, parking fees and limits will be enforced from noon until 10 p.m. There will be no parking enforcement on Sundays.

But the issues that came to light in the form of massive citizen complaints in the past few months have not been totally solved with the City Council’s actions June 7. The council plans to continue studying the contract with PARKAtlanta and the citizen complaints to determine what other changes are in order and can be made under the contract.

Adrean’s proposed ordinance would require the Department of Public Works to “remove two-hour parking restrictions and metered parking from both sides of East Andrews Drive.”

She has said the installation of meters and a two-hour parking restriction along East Andrews would be “devastating to local merchants” because it would remove the only existing parking opportunities in the area for employees working in those businesses.

Her ordinance was to be considered during the committee’s June 16 meeting, but one of Adrean’s aides said she did not expect the proposal to be voted on at the meeting. She said that because of Adrean’s work on the city budget as chair of the council finance committee, the councilwoman would not be available to discuss her parking proposal for this article.

Dist. 7 Councilman Howard Shook said he had been told by an employee in the Department of Public Works that there had been 223 operational parking meters in Buckhead some years ago, but that over the years, some of those had been removed “to replace meters downtown that had been stolen or damaged.” He said that had left about 200 meters in Buckhead, according to the Public Works representative.

Shook said the Public Works representative told him there remained 11 meters to be reinstalled in his district, and they would be installed along Roswell Road between Irby Avenue and West Paces Ferry Road. That puts the meters squarely in front of the new Buckhead Theatre and the adjacent strip of shops..

Shook agreed with comments made by Transportation Committee Chairman C.T. Martin, who has said publicly the contract with PARKAtlanta was not as good as it should have been.

PARKAtlanta began managing parking services for the city last November, assuming the responsibility for parking meter enforcement, including the issuance of parking citations, a former duty of the city’s Department of Public Works.

Post 1 At-Large City Councilmember Michael Julian Bond, who chairs a subcommittee on parking, said implementation of parking enforcement services to date has caused an increased number of complaints from those most affected by the issuance of parking citations. Enforcement of parking restrictions by PARKAtlanta was suspended for one month as a result to give the city time to develop recommendations on improved enforcement. However, residents and visitors were and are still required to pay all parking meters and pay stations under city law.

Under the contract, PARKAtlanta is to pay the city $5.5 million a year and keep the rest of the revenue. But as parking meters popped up all over town, drivers complained that the company was too aggressive. Bar and restaurant owners complained they were losing business because patrons only had two hours to eat before they had to move their cars.

Council member Keisha Lance Bottoms has argued that allowing PARKatlanta to write tickets is against the law. She has proposed legislation that would prevent drivers from facing criminal charges if they get a ticket from PARKatlanta.

During the moratorium from May 12 through June 10, the PARKAtlanta On-Street Parking Management Program has not issued citations for expired meters, overtime parking, illegal parking activities or performed booting and/or towing.

According to Bond, the moratorium allowed the city time to assess the policies and practices of parking enforcement and administration, review customer service training and ongoing public education and involvement, explore strategies to reduce the number of citizen complaints and review all parking signage.

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A city subcommittee chaired by Atalnta City Councilman Michael Julian Bond drew up a series of propoals on how to improve the city’s parking program. It recommendations include:
  • Making parking tickets more consumer friendly and ensuring the appeals process is prominently displayed;
  • Creating interactive online maps that show where meters and residential parking permits are located;
  • Limiting hours of parking enforcement (one plan calls for 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday);
  • Restoring commercial loading zones that have been replaced by metered spaces and “no parking” zones;
  • Implementing a bar-code system for local residents to park in their neighborhoods.
  • Only warning tickets were to be issued for four days until June 15.
  • Citywide enforcement of metered areas will occur 7 a.m. – 7 p.m. Monday through Friday, and 12 noon–10 p.m. on Saturdays.  No enforcement will occur on Sundays.  These hours were to be in effect from June 16 to Friday July 16.
  • Enforcement hours will be subject to change as officials continue to evaluate the overall program.
  • A vehicle may be subject to booting or towing if illegally parked (i.e. tow zone, handicap zone, fire hydrant) or if there are three or more delinquent parking citations outstanding.

A city subcommittee chaired by Atalnta City Councilman Michael Julian Bond drew up a series of propoals on how to improve the city’s parking program. It recommendations include:

  • Making parking tickets more consumer friendly and ensuring the appeals process is prominently displayed;•Creating interactive online maps that show where meters and residential parking permits are located;
  • Limiting hours of parking enforcement (one plan calls for 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday)
  • Restoring commercial loading zones that have been replaced by metered spaces and “no parking” zones;•Implementing a bar-code system for local residents to park in their neighborhoods.
  • Only warning tickets were to be issued for four days until June 15.
  • Citywide enforcement of metered areas will occur 7 a.m. – 7 p.m. Monday through Friday, and 12 noon–10 p.m. on Saturdays.  No enforcement will occur on Sundays.  These hours were to be in effect from June 16 to Friday July 16.•Enforcement hours will be subject to change as officials continue to evaluate the overall program.
  • A vehicle may be subject to booting or towing if illegally parked (i.e. tow zone, handicap zone, fire hydrant) or if there are three or more delinquent parking citations outstanding.