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Parking limits planned uptown
Sunday, July 27, 2014
By BULLETIN STAFF REPORTS -
Martinsville is planning to begin enforcing a two-hour limit for on-street parking in the uptown business district this fall.
City Manager Leon Towarnicki said the limit will be in place between 9 a.m. and 6 p.m. Mondays through Fridays. Sept. 1 is the target date to implement the change, he added Friday.
Currently, there are no limits on parking uptown.
Enforcement of the limit will be done randomly by the Martinsville Police Department, Towarnicki said.
“When we had it before the police department had staff dedicated to enforcing” the limit, he said. Now, those positions have been eliminated so enforcement will be done randomly.
That could mean officers would ticket drivers whose vehicles they see in the same spot for more than two hours on weekdays, he said. It will not be full-time enforcement, he added.
The limits were suggested by a majority of uptown business representatives at a July 15 meeting held to address complaints about on-street parking that have been made in the past few months and other subjects, Towarnicki said.
Generally, the complaints have been that business owners, operators and employees park in front of their businesses, he said. Restrictions would encourage frequent turnover of parking spaces instead of people parking in a space all day, Towarnicki told Martinsville City Council on Tuesday.
“We knew at some point as the uptown area came back ... parking was again going to become an issue,” he said Friday, calling it a “good problem to have” since it means people are patronizing businesses uptown.
He added that he expects the situation will get worse when renovations begin at the Henry Hotel at the corner of Church and Broad streets.
“We’re attempting to address it early on,” he added.
Towarnicki could not say exactly how many parking spaces exist uptown, but said he recalled a 2006 study that estimated 1,000 spaces likely was accurate. Many of those spaces are in lots throughout uptown.
“If you go to Walmart on a typical busy day and park in the lot, you probably would walk farther in that lot to get to the store than you would if you parked in just about any of the public lots uptown and walked to any stores you wanted to go to,” he said.
The July 15 meeting was attended by representatives of the police department, the city’s public works department and MURA (Martinsville Uptown). In addition to the parking issue, they discussed plans for repaving the uptown district next year, signs, skateboarders and other topics, Towarnicki said.