No free parking: Bloomington’s parking commission mulls no-meter, required-pay option for two streets north of 10th

At last Thursday’s meeting of Bloomington’s parking commission, some video footage was rolled for the group. It showed a street view from a vehicle as it navigated from 10th Street near Indiana University’s Department of Earth & Atmospheric Sciences building, northward onto Walnut Grove, around the curve, west onto Cottage Grove.

The two streets north of 10th were parked up most everywhere a car would fit. “These are people who are currently parking for free on city-owned property,” Bloomington’s parking services director, Michelle Wahl told commissioners.

Wahl wants to try a one-year pilot program with the city’s current pay-by-smartphone vendor, ParkMobile, to require payment for parking on Walnut Grove and Cottage Grove. ParkMobile would be the only payment option. Continue reading “No free parking: Bloomington’s parking commission mulls no-meter, required-pay option for two streets north of 10th”

Press Release: 125 downtown parking meters vandalized, causing $5,000 worth of damage

In a press release issued around 4:30 p.m. on Wednesday afternoon, Bloomington’s police department provided some details on the vandalism to parking meters in the downtown area, which was discovered in the morning and widely documented on social media outlets.

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The head from a vandalized meter had been removed from its post by parking services staff on Wednesday morning. (Dave Askins/Beacon)

The vandals spray-painted parking meter heads green and pink and injected meter slots  with expanding foam.

The press release puts the number of meters that were vandalized at 125—the area of damaged meters included more than just some around the courthouse square.

Damage is estimated at $5,000. It’s still possible to park at spots with damaged meter using the ParkMobile phone app, according to the BPD release. [Update: After the initial press release was sent out, a followup was sent, clarifying that people who park at damaged meters will not be ticketed if they do not use the ParkMobile phone app.]

According to the release, replacement parts are being overnighted to Bloomington, so that repairs can be made as soon as possible.

The release says that investigators are now reviewing footage from video cameras at downtown businesses to try to identify the vandals.

The release says that any with information about the parking meter vandalism should contact Detective Jon Muscato at (812) 349-3326.

Bloomington’s parking commission counts new neighborhood permit rules as initial success, mulls more policy tweaks

Policies on the temporary storage of vehicles inside Bloomington’s city limits, aka “parking,” are key to retaining residents and businesses downtown, as well as the success of cultural events downtown, like this past weekend’s Lotus Festival. Parking as a policy issue reaches into the leafy neighborhoods, outside of downtown.

Late last year and earlier this spring, business owners raised the specter of relocating out of downtown, if their employee parking would be contingent on a quarterly engineering inspection of a repaired 4th Street structure. That led to the reversal of the city council’s initial decision to repair, not rebuild, the 4th Street parking garage. Demolition of the structure started in earnest his past week.

Part of what makes Lotus Festival possible is the reservation of hundreds of parking spaces with bright orange signs marking each space, indicating when motorists are not allowed to park there. They cost $20 apiece plus $10 for administration.

Street parking in the area north of downtown roughly bounded by Walnut and Woodlawn and by 17th and 13th has, since Aug. 15, required a residential neighborhood parking permit. The newly defined Zone 6, has round-the-clock enforcement from Thursday through Sunday.

It’s the city’s parking commission that has purview over these kinds of parking issues. The commission’s meetings are open to the public, like those of all boards and commissions.

The bright orange reserved parking signs got some brief discussion at last Thursday’s meeting, as did the early feedback on Zone 6 and other neighborhood parking permit areas that had their rules tweaked starting Aug. 15. Commissioners heard enough positive feedback that the changes are considered a success.

Its meeting last Thursday was the first one  for the parking commission since June, after its regular sessions in July and August were cancelled due to lack of a quorum.

Difficulty in achieving a quorum is related to one of the topics for future discussion identified by parking commissioners on Thursday. Scott Robinson, who’s assistant director for the city’s transportation and planning department, suggested the combination of three transportation-related commissions: parking, traffic, and bicycle and pedestrian safety.

Here’s a round-up of parking commission meeting topics, other issues commissioners might be tackling, and some other parking-related talk The Beacon has heard at other public meetings. Continue reading “Bloomington’s parking commission counts new neighborhood permit rules as initial success, mulls more policy tweaks”

Neighborhood zone parking regs could be up for more tweaks before Aug. 15

Green signs with white lettering along 6th Street, east of Washington in downtown Bloomington, alert motorists to the meter-enforcement hours: Monday through Saturday from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m.

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A sign along 6th Street, east of  Washington, looking east. (Dave Askins/Beacon)

A close look at any of the signs reveals the “8” to be a small patch—it was pasted over a “9” to blend in with the rest of the sign. The one-hour-earlier enforcement time took effect on Jan. 1 this year.

The change to meter enforcement times was one of several revisions to the city’s parking ordinance enacted by Bloomington’s city council at its Sept. 19 meeting last year, on a unanimous vote.

A more obvious, white patch covers the lower third of the signs along 6th Street. It covers up what was previously an exemption for holders of residential neighborhood zone permits—they did not have to pay the meter. As the red lettering on the patch warns, meter enforcement at those locations will apply to everyone, effective Aug. 15, 2019. Continue reading “Neighborhood zone parking regs could be up for more tweaks before Aug. 15”