Activity at the newest parking lot in the downtown area will continue to be monitored over the next six months, as a 30-day study has shown the lot on Vance Street is underutilized and led city officials to suspend enforcement there.
At the City Council’s recent meeting, City manager John Connet and Clinton police chief Jay Tilley reported the findings of a parking survey completed over the previous 30 days by the department. Upon reviewing the information, Connet recommended the city suspend enforcement of the two-hour parking requirements for the lot for a six-month period to truly examine the utilization of the lot.
“The Police Department, utilizing our new camera system downtown, has been monitoring the parking in the Vance Street parking lot,” said city manager John Connet.
That study revealed that, on average, seven spaces per hour per day were being used, Tilley said.
“Out of 25 spaces, seven per hour are being used, so there’s clearly plenty of spaces left open,” said Connet. “The lot is clearly underutilized. Our recommendation is to suspend enforcement for a period of six months and continue to monitor it and go through the holiday season, the Christmas season, and see if it becomes a problem … if the parking lot is used more, used less, just to be able to review it as time goes by — to get a full snapshot.”
Last month, Clinton-Sampson planning director Mary Rose asked Council members to consider designating eight parking spaces in the Vance Street parking lot as two-hour parking and the remaining 16 spaces as all-day parking after hearing concerns from property owners along Vance that the lot was not being used and they needed spaces for employee parking, Rose said.
When the new parking lot, constructed on the site of the former jail property, was opened earlier this year, the entire lot was designated as two-hour parking. After a few months, several members of the downtown stakeholders group asked for a meeting to discuss the parking situation. A meeting was held in August, with eight business owners present.
“It was the consensus of the group to request that eight spaces remain two-hour, and the rest of the lot be designated all-day free parking, due to the needs of some of the business owners for some additional parking for their employees,” Rose said last month. “We look at this as somewhat of an incentive to these businesses to be downtown. We have also witnessed lower activity than average in this parking lot.”
Wayne Weeks of Weeks & Associates Insurance and Rodney Grantham of Sampson Building Supply were among those who expressed the need for more parking and, if that was not possible, the prospect of implementing leased spaces. Even with an approval of all-day parking, there was still the issue of people parking improperly, Weeks noted.
Having heard the concerns at September’s meeting, Mayor Lew Starling requested that Connet and Tilley look into the matter and report back. At this week’s meeting, the Council voted to suspend enforcement of the 2-hour requirement and continue to monitor the activity.
“I think you talked with business owners and discussed that with them, and if something happens and you need to bring that back to us before six months we can,” said Starling.
“If it does become a problem,” Connet noted, “then we can just ask for enforcement.”
Chris Berendt can be reached at 910-592-8137 ext. 121 or via email at email@example.com.