The City of Athens passed a pilot residential parking program on Aug. 21 to change parking laws in one part of Athens from 24-hour parking to 72-hour parking. 

This R-1 division is classified as the streets of Brown, Central, Elizabeth, First, Hanlin, Maple, Pratt, Shafer, Smith, West Hills, West Washington, Columbia, Franklin, Evans, Grosvenor, Highland, Mound, North Congress and Spring, where parking is permitted. Residents in the pilot parking program must purchase a $25 permit.

The program will begin its year of pilot testing on Sept. 20. After one year, the program will be re-evaluated, and the Athens City Council will determine if it should be kept full time.  

Michele Papai, D-3rd Ward Councilwoman, said that the 24-hour parking limit in the R-1 division has been in place for more than 20 years, but is now being re-evaluated to accommodate changes in permanent residences and rental properties in the area.   

"Things change over time," Papai said. "R-1 is the zone that is considered permanent resident. In some of our older neighborhoods, some houses don’t even have a driveway. If you look at the streets that are part of the pilot program, these are all older neighborhoods.”

Papai said anyone who lives in the R-1 zone and has either no parking or one parking spot would be able to apply for the permit. 

"The idea is that it’s a more sustainable type of situation because many of the people who live in these homes work in the uptown area or commute and walk to work," Papai said. "What ends up happening (in the current system) is you still have people having to move their car every 24 hours, yet they're being good citizens by walking to work and not using gas." 

Athens resident Joan Kraynanski created the initial proposal to change the parking limits in the R-1 division, where she lives, because she was frustrated with having to move her car.  

"I would have to come home after walking to work and back, and have to move my car," Kraynanski said. "It just seemed ludicrous that I should have to do that. Other people complained about this. There was a lot of discussion." 

Papai said 30 people signed the initial petition to change the parking, with 24 people claiming they had no parking and six people claiming they had one spot.  

"This is not a pilot program for everyone who lives in the city," Papai said. "This is a subgroup of people who are trying to be sustainable and who are trying to not have to move their car every day, but really have no other option."  

Athens resident Elizabeth Story was one of 30 people to sign the original petition. Story said having to move her car each morning even though she does not drive to work was one of many reasons she chose to sign the petition. 

"You get up and have to move your car every day when you have to go to work at 8 o’clock in the morning, and you don’t get home till 5," Story said. "Part of the beauty of living on that street is that I have worked over 30 years and never had to drive to work. That was my reason." 


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