Bar-code system, special zones among parking panel's ideas

What about the creation of special parking zones that would cater to entertainment, commercial and residential drivers?

Those were some of the 28 recommendations presented to the Atlanta City Council’s Transportation Committee by the subcommittee charged with getting a handle on the city’s desperate parking situation.

Subcommittee Chair Michael Julian Bond put together four working groups to come up with short- and long-term parking recommendations for the city after the uproar caused by PARKatlanta, the Milwaukee-based company the city hired to enforce parking, forced a moratorium.

“We are going to continue to work on long-term goals to work on a definitive parking program for Atlanta,” Bond said. “The more we get into it, the further we go into the woods. We’ve tried to conform a lot of what we were doing to the moratorium, but we need a comprehensive policy."

PARKatlanta and the city came together last year to forge a $5.5 million annual partnership for the company to enforce parking. PARKatlanta would pay the annual fee through enforcement, while keeping any additional money collected.

But within days, residents, business owners and patrons were complaining that PARKatlanta was too vigilant in its parking enforcement. The complaints forced the city to call for a moratorium on PARKatlanta’s services until June 11, while figuring out a solution.

With the moratorium, PARKatlanta has not paid the city for May, which is troubling for City Council member Felicia Moore.

“At some point, we need to make some decisions quickly,” Moore said. “We need a thoughtful resolution as soon as possible -- before we adopt the budget.”

The council is scheduled to adopt the fiscal 2011 budget this month.

The recommendations -- made by groups representing public outreach, residential parking, and meters and ticketing -- were split into long-term and short-term goals.

They included:

  • Making parking tickets more consumer-friendly by ensuring that the appeals process is prominently displayed.
  • Creating interactive online maps to show where all meters, parking enforcement signs and residential parking permit programs are.
  • Limiting the hours of parking meter enforcement. One plan calls for enforcement between 9 a.m. and 6 p.m. Monday through Friday.
  • Restoring commercial loading zones that were replaced by metered spaces and No Parking zones.
  • Implementing a bar-code system for local residents to park in their neighborhoods.

After presenting the recommendations to the committee on Wednesday, Bond said he would meet with his subcommittee on Friday to craft legislation that will be introduced at Monday’s council meeting.

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