Friday, April 1, 2016

Renewed Fairhope Parking Committee Meets

Fairhope, Alabama


Some newly-appointed members of the Fairhope Parking Authority met for the first time to organize and discuss the seemingly-intractable downtown parking issue.

Current Authority members are: Gene Bouchillon, Beth Fugard, Charles Lake, Mike Lyons, Arthur "Bob" Mannich, Ginger Miliigan, Randy Williams

The discussion centered on nationally-known consultant Dan Burden's (Walkable Communities Inc.) upcoming visit funded by the ESMPO, to find ways to increase usage of the parking structure -- as well as other general parking issues. Anyone may attend the meetings scheduled for April 6, 7, and 11th. (See schedule below.)

Better signage, security cameras, and sprucing up the area to make it less "scary" were possibilities mentioned by those attending; council member Boone said when he asked his wife why she did not use the structure, her only reply was that she "didn't like it."

Lack of adequate lighting and room to maneuver inside are also problems frequently mentioned by citizens to the Times.


The chronic issue of Faulkner college student parking was also discussed: the city agreed to provide parking for students back in the 1980s when it leased the property to the college for 99 years, according to mayor Kant.

The mayor said city desired to keep the school here because the downtown was in danger of "drying up" then; the school has expanded considerably since then though.

Issuing decals and requiring students to park in the parking deck were solutions mentioned as well as dusting-off an old master parking plan to add more diagonal spaces downtown and a parking lot on open college land at the corner of Bancroft and Morphy Ave. -- at the city's expense.


The hot-button issue of business owners and employees' insistence of parking on the street instead of in the structure was also discussed: each on-street parking space wasted costs retailers about $100K in potential sales, according to the mayor.

Talk of the Single Tax Corporation funding a new lot behind the library came up too -- and the city possibly acquiring property to build more lots elsewhere around town (K-1 property?).

(After the meeting another shop owner mentioned to a Times reporter making some streets one-way to add more diagonal parking; another offered a "lack of political will" is the real hold up to addressing the issues.)


Mayor Kant said he opposes setting time limits for on-street parking, -- it was two-hours back in the 1990s --  because that impacts visitors from out of town the most, who may want to park and shop all day.

Enforcement was an issue then too for out-of town violators.


Wednesday, April 6

Focus Groups:
1 p.m. to 2:30 p.m., Elected officials, staff, parking authority, planning commission
2:30 p.m. to 4 p.m., Property owners and businesses adjacent to parking deck
5 p.m.- 6:30 p.m., Downtown Merchants, Faulkner

All focus groups will be held in the Fairhope Public Library Gideons Auditorium

Thursday, April 7

Walking Tour and Charrette Workshop:
2 p.m., Begins and ends at Centennial Hall on Faulkner’s Campus
Should end by 6 p.m.

All who participated in focus groups are invited to attend.

Monday, April 11

Final Presentation
8 a.m., Fairhope Civic Center
Coffee; donuts


Kim said...

The Faulkner students take up all of the parking spaces so you can't get to the bank or run a quick errand or shop.
For the most part church parking lots are empty during school times. Could Faulkner work out something so the students could park in their lots with a golf cart shuttle like what they use at the hospital? This would free up parking. Also the parking lot behind the Hampton Inn. People staying there don't need to park on the ground floor. Have them park on the upper floors so that people in town to run errand or shop can have a quick place to park.

Anonymous said...

Every time we visit the parking deck, it is full, except the spots reserved for the Hampton Inn

Anonymous said...

I admit I don't visit the parking deck often but every time I do, the bottom is full but upper decks have plenty of parking. Are some folks just scared to drive up there?

Anonymous said...

I get claustrophobia in that place. Literally.

Anonymous said...

OMG - this is all we have to talk about????

Anonymous said...

Nope. It is Fairhope after all ��

Anonymous said...

Ever since it was built, day or night, I have never seen it filled (top or bottom). It is my preferred place to park when I am downtown. I can drive to one of the upper decks and park near the elevator/stairs.