Greenville to address overnight parking problems

By Cory Smith • Last Updated 11:40 am on Thursday, February 16, 2017

Greenville-owned free parking lots have become a point of contention in winter months, as downtown residents with designated areas have observed their designated overnight parking spots being taken as more evening activity occurs in the city’s downtown district. — Daily News/Cory Smith

GREENVILLE — To ticket or not to ticket?

In regards to overnight parking in city parking lots, that has become the question.

During Tuesday’s meeting of the Greenville Downtown Development Authority (DDA), City Manager George Bosanic brought forth an issue that the Greenville Department of Public Safety has had issues addressing.

According to Bosanic, an influx of additional downtown businesses and residents has resulted in more evening activity this winter, which in turn has created a problem for downtown residents who rely on city parking lots for overnight parking.

During the winter months — Dec. 1 to March 31 — city-owned free parking lots are designated as no parking areas during the hours of 2 to 6 a.m. This ordinance is in effect to allow for snow removal, as city plows typically hit the streets beginning at 2 a.m. on mornings that require snow removal.

Designated areas, such as in city lots No. 7 and No. 8, are available to residents, such as those that live in apartments of the Beamers Tanning building owned by DDA member Wendy Gladding. Those slots operate on an every-other-day basis, to allow for plowing of lots in the event of snow removal on consecutive days.

However, this year, the city has encountered issues where those designated spots have become occupied overnight by cars not owned by downtown residents.

“Somebody who lives downtown, who parks in an overnight parking lot, they go out for the evening and leave their space open. But when they come back, somebody else parks in the overnight parking lot, not knowing that it is reserved for overnight,” Bosanic said. “That leaves them stuck if they park elsewhere because they are either going to get a ticket or have a conversation with Public Safety.”

Bosanic said with the city expected to pursue state rental rehabilitation grants with downtown property owners this spring, which could potentially increase the number of apartments in the downtown district — many of which rely on city parking lots for overnight parking — the time is now opportune to discuss potential changes to the city’s parking situation.

“I think it’s a great opportunity now to look at it from a global perspective, from all facets, to see how this is going to work going forward,” he said.

Bosanic said misinformation has spread through social media recently about the Public Safety Department’s handling of these parking issues, placing a greater importance on addressing it.

“That’s wrong information that gets out there so quickly, it’s not healthy,” he said. “This will give us an opportunity to get ahead of everything.”

As a result of some discussion, the DDA reached consensus without a vote to pursue creating a new committee, consisting of several DDA members and representation from the Public Safety Department, to investigate the parking issue, to be spearheaded by Greenville Area Chamber of Commerce Director Gae Wolfe.

“The Chamber has an interest in that, especially with the potential future development of our own building,” she said.

“There’s a lot of work, a lot of pieces, that need to be addressed,” Bosanic said. “I think just having a committee meeting and throwing all of this up on the wall and looking at these issues, and addressing them one by one, will help. Certainly bringing everyone downtown in on the conversation is key.”

DDA Chairman David Ralph stressed that the situation is one of importance for the city to reach a resolution on.

“The committee will review what we have in place and what we may need to do to address future parking needs, to position ourselves to be welcoming to new businesses and changes in the downtown district,” he said.

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