Those who take advantage of the free parking available on Third Street between Jefferson Street and the Third Street bridge may be looking for another option in the future.
During the work session at the City Council meeting on Monday, council member Kimberly Ecklund brought a proposal to the attention of the group regarding the idea of installing parking meters on that stretch of road.
"Looking at the parking issue across the downtown area, a proposal was put forward looking at downtown on Third Street from Jefferson Street to the Third Street bridge," said Ecklund. "Right now, it's free parking, but they're looking at putting up 35 parking meters. The cost of that is listed at $8,925, but the overall benefit through revenue is estimated at $34,580 annually for 8-hour days."
Jamestown City Council is looking at several parking-related items including the installation of 35 parking meters on Third Street from Jefferson Street to the Third Street bridge; the creation of an administrative tribunal to handle parking infractions; and the waiving of the courtesy ticket.
P-J photo by
C. Ralph Heeter
According to Ecklund, currently there is no signage regarding parking in that area of the city and there are some cars that are staying there for between eight and 10 hours each day. If installed, these meters would only be in use from Monday through Friday and from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on those days, just as the other parking meters in downtown. Ecklund also said that she was assured that staffing the area to oversee the meters would not be an issue with the current workforce.
Jeff Lehman, director of the Department of Public Works, was also on hand during the work session. According to Lehman, if this change were to be approved, it would take multiple months in order to complete the work that would be necessary.
"We don't have a lot of the parts that we would need on hand and we would have to order them," said Lehman, "but we could probably have it done by January. The poles would have to be installed, so there's a bit of work that has to be done, but we would make it happen as soon as possible."
During the other meetings that took place on Monday, several other parking-related issues were brought up as well.
When the finance committee met, a resolution was passed requesting that the state assembly and the state senate enact a bill that would allow Jamestown to create an administrative tribunal to handle any parking infractions instead of passing them on to the city court like they currently do.
"It will be several months before we hear back, but both of our representatives voted in favor of this and adopted this program in other municipalities and we're looking to be able to piggy back on that," said Jim Olson, city clerk.
According to Olson, the examiners that would be appointed to the tribunal would be required to be practicing attorneys with at least five to seven years of local experience, and the position would be volunteer based. The tribunal would oversee any tickets or citations that were issued for parking-related violations. Currently, there are roughly $300,000 in outstanding tickets
"It would be a relief for the City Court since these individuals would be listening to requests to have tickets excused, which is something that takes up a large amount of time in the city court system," said Olson. "Tickets are forwarded to the court on a weekly basis right now and we're trying to relieve the court of the burden of having to listen to all of this. We're also hoping to have a better outcome regarding the number of tickets that are relieved on a daily basis, which would mean more revenue from our standpoint."
The tribunal would be used for any ticket that an individual receives that they don't feel that they should be responsible for paying or justified in receiving. This would be a relief for the City Court, and these individuals would be listening to requests for excusing tickets, which is something that takes up a large amount of time for the city court system.
Another thing that area residents may not be seeing for much longer are the courtesy tickets that are issued when someone is cited for their first parking violation.
In 2005, the city council set a fee schedule for parking tickets and they allowed parking tickets for the first violation to be a courtesy ticket, meaning a meter feeding or an overtime in zone violation. The second violation would be $5, the third would be $10 and the fourth and subsequent on a calendar year basis would be $20.
"We're recommending that the courtesy tickets be removed," said Olson "We issue more than 6,000 courtesy tickets a year, or roughly $35,000 a year in tickets that aren't being charged for. It's also one of the things that the state auditors have been asking questions about. I think that recommendation is going to be coming out of the comptroller's office as well, from an audit standpoint."