Athens City Council met to propose new parking regulations at Monday’s meeting. The proposal would replace current parking meters with “Smart Parking Meters.”

Recently, there have been decreases in uptown Athens shopping because employees are parking in front of businesses during late night shifts. The smart meters would promote local businesses by opening up parking through downtown Athens. 

“That hurts business because then customers don’t want to come [into] town because they assume there’s no parking,” Paul Logue, the planner for the City of Athens, said. 

A pilot project for the new meters occurred from February to May 2018. That provided opportunities for people to park using various payment options, including a new mobile app. Pilot meters will remain on alternating sides of Court Street if the proposal passes.

Logue presented the option of a capital purchase of $443,667.50 that included 525 smart meters, dome sensors, batteries, installation, coin collection and coin canisters. Three lease options were also presented to council members with a service fee of $4,487.50 per month that would apply in all cases.

Hourly parking fees would be based on specific zone locations of various meters throughout Uptown. Currently, if people use the public parking app a service fee must be paid.

“With the Smart App, this solution will offer that you will no longer have to pay a 35 cents per transaction fee,” Logue said. 

Council will vote for the installation of the new meters that would be installed December  2018.

Members also discussed the third phase of the Bikeway Spur project. Councilman Peter Kotses said the city will need an additional $100,000 complete the project. The money would go toward retaining walls to protect the stream. 

The new completion date is set for June 2019. 

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