We have long argued and discussed the issue of parking around here. For evidence of that, feel free to check out my 2010 parking introspective entitled, “Parking: Decatur’s Savior of Businesses or Destroyer of Worlds?”
Well, apparently the old parking gripes are rearing their heads again, because the city is looking to debunk some of our most common “parking myths” in the latest Decatur Focus. Here they are, word for word!
Myth: Decatur doesn’t have enough parking.
What you may not know: ere are more than 2,500 public parking spaces in downtown Decatur. at number includes the privately owned parking decks and lots as well as the 300 metered parking spaces that line the streets. ere is plenty of parking, but not all of it is visible from the street. Due to downtown design standards, parking decks have to be wrapped and hidden by the buildings they serve. Also, developers are required to provide parking to meet residential, retail, and commerical uses in the project. So if a mixed-use apartment complex is built on a piece of land that was a parking lot, the development will include the same amount of public parking spaces in its newly built parking garage.
Myth: Decatur charges a lot for on-street parking because it needs the revenue.
What you may not know: On-street parking is not intended to provide a source of revenue
for the city. Instead, it is a form of parking management that discourages long-term use of the most convenient on-street parking by downtown employees and MARTA patrons. When on- street parking is taken up by business owners or employees regularly, they stand to lose thou- sands of dollars per year in potential revenue. Metered spaces are meant for high turnover and customers planning quick trips. Anyone who intends to stay in downtown Decatur for more than two hours should park in one of the public garages, which o er ample parking.
According to Donald Shoup, author of e High Cost of Free Parking, meters should cost more per hour than parking garages to encourage drivers to park o the street. Currently it costs $2 per hour to park at a meter in downtown Decatur, which is the same or less than most of the downtown parking lots and garages.
Myth: Parking should be free.
What you may not know: ere’s really no such thing as free parking. Even if a driver does not have to pay for his/her parking spot, the cost is passed o elsewhere, whether it’s to the tenant or the customers. According to Parking.org, one on-street parking space is valued at $20,000, an above-ground parking space costs an average of $22,688 to construct, and a subterranean parking space costs between $34,000 and $45,000 to construct. Those numbers don’t even take into account the cost of land and maintenance of the park- ing spaces. While parking is a necessity in cities, free parking is not.
Myth: Parking is hard to find in Decatur.
What you may not know: Parking is abundant in Decatur, but not in the form of highly desirable street parking. You’ll nd most parking spaces in one of the privately owned lots and decks around town. For a map of the downtown parking decks, visit decaturga.com/parking.
Myth: the city’s parking attendants give you a ticket as soon as your meter expires.
What you may not know: Decatur has one full-time and two part-time Parking Assistance Liaison with Merchants and Safety (PALS) that work Monday through Saturday, 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. ey monitor all 300 of Decatur’s metered spaces and write parking tickets, but one of their primary responsibil- ities is to serve as ambassadors for Decatur. The turnarounds at North McDonough Street and East Court Square are the most in-demand parking spaces downtown and therefore the most highly monitored spots.
Receiving a ticket for an expired meter can be a frustrating experience. Keep in mind, if you pay to park using the Park Mobile App, you’ll receive a text when your meter is about to expire and have the option of adding more time as long as it is under the two-hour limit.
To learn more about parking in Decatur, visit decaturga.com/parking and download the new parking brochure that lists locations and pricing for all downtown public parking. If you’d like to pick up a hard copy of the brochure, visit the Decatur Visitors Center, 113 Clairemont Ave.