Implementation measures considered for historic district parking

The Parking Study Steering Committee has proposed a variety of measures to address the parking problems that affect the merchants and the nearby residents. Some of those measures have gone into effect while others require ordinances, research and community agreement and may take longer to implement.

• Riverside/Avondale Implementation Measures Enforcement
Based on input at the final community meeting, parking enforcement went into effect prior to striping of residential streets. The City’s Parking Division began enforcement in Avondale and at Park and King in late December. Enforcement officers will be out one day per week on Thursday, Friday or Saturday from 5 p.m. to 11 p.m. The Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office will provide parking enforcement after 11 p.m.

Tickets will be given for blocking driveways, parking too close to intersections and fire hydrants, blocking or parking on sidewalks, and expired tags, and warnings given for other offenses. In addition, residents can call the non-emergency number, (904) 630-0500, about a blocked driveway, and the officer will confirm that the resident is unable to exit before requesting towing.

Stripe and Sign Residential Streets
Coordination with Public Works will begin in January to develop a striping and signage plan for each area and a schedule to implement. Funds will have to be secured. Prior to striping, meetings will be held with residents on streets where it has been determined to implement parking on one side of the street only, as those streets are not wide enough to accommodate an emergency vehicle with parking on both sides of the street. Stripe marks will be as minimal as possible due to aesthetic concerns but enough to be effective. The goal is to have uniform signage design and placement standards that fit within the historic district.

Contract Towing Ordinance
Jack Shad, head of the City’s Parking Division, is in the process of drafting an ordinance for City Council approval so that residents have access to a towing company that will respond to calls for blocked driveways.

Increase parking supply
Additional on-street spaces would be constructed where possible to increase the parking supply, with the potential to add a few spaces in each study area. For example, at Park and King, The Garage has unused driveway aprons that could be removed to accommodate angled parking spaces. St. Johns Avenue between Dancy and Van Wert can be striped for additional parallel parking spaces, but funds will have to be found. The committee also suggested securing use of private lots where possible.

Implement night time trolley service
Coincidentally, the Jacksonville Transportation Authority and Riverside Avondale Preservation are working on a six-month pilot program for JTA to provide trolley service the first weekend of every month from 6 p.m. to 2 a.m. beginning Jan. 3. The goal is to grow the service to every weekend. The initial focus is on getting Riverside/Avondale residents to take the trolley instead of driving within the district. Longer term, the plan is to secure parking lots on the edge of the district for patrons driving to the historic district to park remotely and use the trolley.

Marketing/Education Plan
A small group of merchants are working on designing a marketing plan for merchants to implement to educate patrons about available parking, parking regulations and enforcement, the trolley service, and generally about being respectful of nearby residents.

Park and King Implementation
In addition to enforcing the parking laws, JSO will also police nuisance behavior.
CenterState Bank has agreed to allow the use of its parking lot for employee parking only. Initially, only 30 spots have been set aside for employees.

Avondale Implementation
The feasibility of adding parking for employees on Van Wert along Boone Park will be explored. The City needs to determine if there is enough public right-of-way to accommodate parking because encroaching into Boone Park is not an option. Community meetings will be held prior to implementation.
Another measure would be the implementation of three-hour time limits on commercial on-street parking spaces when parking for employees is secured.
The Avondale Merchants Association is also considering a full scale valet parking program, if they can secure the use of the space behind the Coldwell Banker building for valet or employee parking.

A residential parking program, similar to those used in other historic cities, will be designed and implemented in the Avondale study area, with permit enforcement to start at midnight. It is important to note that the commercial parking demand can be met with the commercial on-street spaces after midnight, because the demand is much lower with only a few businesses open after that time. Community meetings to discuss program design will be held. The City Parking Division’s new software has built-in residential permit capability.

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