Athens Parking Rate Doubles With New Rules

Posted on:

< < Back to

The Athens City Council approved an ordinance revising parking meter rules Monday, increasing costs and extending enforcement hours.

Central to the council’s decision was Court Street in Uptown Athens. The new rules will create high, moderate, and low intensity parking zones. Court Street, which will be a high intensity zone, will double its rates from $0.50 to $1 an hour.

The new changes will also extend the enforcement of the parking rules from 6 pm to 8 pm. The council has not disclosed when the new rules will take effect.

Mayor Steve Patterson said after the meeting that he viewed the parking changes as “something that’s for the civic good.”

“People, once come 6 pm, they can stay there for the rest of the evening,” Mayor Patterson said. “We find a lot of people who would like to come uptown. They would avoid the uptown area because their perception is [that] there’s nowhere to park.”

Few residents attended Monday’s City Council meeting, but one resident, Judith Roman, spoke against the parking ordinance.

“I can certainly afford to pay a dollar to park, that’s not the issue,” she said. “The issue is that why are they even doing this? They seem to think it’s going to have more people going to restaurants. I don’t understand that thinking, at all.”

The council passed the ordinance on a 6 to 1 vote.

Councilmen, such as Kent Butler of the 1st Ward, debated the effectiveness of the parking rules extension to 8 pm. Other members, along with Mayor Patterson, suggested residents use the parking garage on East Washington Street.

There are still other parking changes that the council plans to discuss in the future. The council is still looking for bids to install smart parking meters across the city. The meters will be able to accept alternative methods of payment, such as credit cards and smartphone payments.

The Council will also consider ways to improve the city’s parking garage, such as color coding the garage to help distinguish its parking levels.