Editorial: Parking permit program flawed


ACROSS-MG-DESKDuring Monday night’s St Augustine City Commission meeting, Historic City News noted that two requests to expand residential parking permit areas were tabled in favor of a review by the Parking and Traffic Committee, a staff survey, and, one or more public workshops.

Now we’re talking.

“I don’t like the idea of breaking up our city into zones,” Commissioner Leanna Freeman told fellow commissioners. “Residents should be able to move freely.”

We completely agree and oppose the concept of “residents-only” neighborhood zones, too.

Under the program, that became effective in 2004, in order for the city to reassign on-street parking spaces to the exclusive use of residential permit holders, the commission must first make a finding of necessity.

There is little doubt that the homeowners, who support the requests for three “resident-only” spaces on San Salvador, and two “resident-only” spaces on Water Street, want the spaces for personal use. Commissioner Don Crichlow said, “You ought to be able to park in front of your house — but, everyone pays taxes in this town, and should be able to park anywhere that’s available.”

For some time, downtown workers who obtained permits have been picking off the spaces closest to their business — only pushing non-resident motorists further into residential neighborhoods to find a place to park. That is not how the program was sold to the public and is not how it was intended to work.

City Manager John Regan intervened; suggesting that commissioners step back and look at the whole program in its totality.

We think the voices of more than the five elected members of the city commission and the five residents who would like dedicated parking spaces should be heard in determining “necessity”.