The Bloomington City Council has indicated it may make significant changes to how it manages parking downtown. At a meeting last week there were two proposal packages. City Clerk Regina Moore summarized the first, from Council Member Steve Volan.
Moore summarizes, “This is to improve parking management in the downtown by imposing a maximum charge for on-street metered parking, setting forth actual times and fees in an amended schedule, providing a period of free parking in all garages, and establishing a fee discount and waiver program to be provided by a new parking commission.”
Volan says approximately two million dollars was collected from the new meters during the first year of their introduction. He says revenue was divided almost equally between cash versus credit card payments. Volan introduced his proposal by first framing it in what he called a mission statement for the City’s parking meter program.
Volan said, “I don’t think that we’ve actually defined what our goal is for our parking system so I have offered a few suggestions…we want to incentivise diversity and fairness for populations who use the downtown that have unique needs. And also consider that the excess revenue when we are not using it to pay for the cost of parking itself, to use it to increase the economic and social sustainability of the downtown.”
Volan’s proposal would change meter hours from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.. Currently the meters run from 6 a.m. until 10 p.m. He also recommended keeping the dollar per hour charge for meters in the downtown core, while reducing the charge to fifty cents for meters on the periphery of the core. He suggested offering three hour free parking at the Morton Street Garage and allowing parking fee waivers for volunteers of non-profits. After considerable discussion on Volan’s proposal, Council member Darryl Neher introduced his proposal for changes in the city parking policy. City Clerk Moore summarized that proposal.
Moore explains, “This is in regard to shortening the hours of enforcement on street metered parking, eliminating the credit card convenience fee for meter use, authorizing the mayor to declare parking holidays, and extending hours of enforcement to Lot 9 which is the 4th street garage.”
Council member Volan pointed out that his proposal and the one from Council member Neher are complementary. A special session of the City Council has been scheduled for this Wednesday to discuss the parking issue further.