The agenda for this week's city council meeting includes feedback on Campustown and Downtown parking, along with a look at city ordinances prohibiting fireworks. Ames City Council meetings begin at 6:00 p.m. each Tuesday in City Hall.

The workshop is intended to provide the council a review of parking issues related to the Campustown and Downtown business districts as well as the surrounding neighborhood areas.

Identified issues for discussion include:

· inventory of public parking spaces

· parking fee and fine structures

· enforcement/violation trends

· estimated utilization of the public parking system

· off-street parking requirements in the business districts

· on-street parking regulations in the neighborhoods surrounding the business districts

The council is looking at creating a system that can support normal operations within a district without vehicles going outside the district for parking, encouraging turnover through time limitations on parking spaces, treating business and neighborhood areas appropriately, simplifying regulations and adding multiple payment methods, including smart card meters.

Fines

Parking fines for overtime parking at meters are currently set by Municipal Ordinance at $10, which is reduced to $5 if paid within seven days. For most other illegal parking violations, the fine is $20, reduced to $15 if paid within seven days. While there had been a state imposed limit of $20 on this penalty, that is no longer the case, according to Campustown/Downtown Business District, Intermodal Facility, and Surrounding Neighborhood Parking Review.  

The Downtown district has around 1,200 spaces, uses 36% of the metered space capacity, and saw just over 10,000 violations in 2016. Campustown has an inventory of 360 metered spots (not including the intermodal facility) with 63% usage and over 20,000 parking violations, according to an agenda preview from Bronwyn Beatty-Hansen.

In fact, the review reports 24,025 parking violations were distributed in Campustown in 2016, not including football game day violations.

Recommendations

The parking review recommends the council consider to:

  • Increase on-street meter fees in the Campustown Business District to influence more use of the Intermodal facility.
  • Increase on-street meter fees in both the Downtown or Campustown Business Districts to generate sufficient revenue to cover operating costs, to cover repairs/renovation of the existing parking lots, to accumulate funds to assist with the construction of new parking ramps in the business districts, or to influence parking demand/prioritize customer demand
  • Standardize and simplify on-street parking regulations in the surrounding Campustown neighborhoods to make them easier to understand
  • Explore use of a residential permit system in specifically designated neighborhoods
  • Reduce the off-street parking requirements for dwelling units in the Campustown and/or Downtown business districts
  • Allow the residential and commercial parking spaces in Campustown and Downtown business districts to be shared

This week's council meeting is a workshop meant to understand more about parking in Ames before any policies are made. Future workshops and policy meetings will include parking as an issue.

Residents can view the Campustown/Downtown Business District, Intermodal Facility, and Surrounding Neighborhood Parking Review online.

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