Another downtown traffic study being considered

Romes Downtown Development Authority will be asked to seek another parking study for the core business district. We know what the issues are, we just dont know how to fix them, said Ann Arnold, Director of the Downtown Development Authority.
Some of those issues include the cumulative two-hour parking limit downtown, repeat offenders and operations of the three decks that the authority manages.

Weve known for some time that we have needed to make changes in the parking program, Arnold said.

Walker Parking Consultants, a national firm with its Southeastern office in Marietta, has submitted a base bid of $15,000 for the study with add-ons that could take the price tag up slightly. I would not anticipate going over $20,000, Arnold said.

Walker completed a study in June of 2005, which indicated that the downtown district would need between 300 and 600 new spaces by 2010. Much of that need for additional space was based on issues such as increased use of The Forum, additional restaurants in the downtown district and the increased development of downtown residential space.

The five-year-old study also suggested that people who utilize on-street spaces along Broad Street should pay the highest rates while those who park in the decks should pay the lowest fees.
Since the 2005 study was completed, the new Third Avenue deck has been completed with a net gain of approximately 240 spaces. Since the last study was completed, the DDA has also taken on one other surface lot for parking management, adding another two dozen spaces to the inventory, still significantly lower than the low-end recommendation of 300 new spaces.

Five years ago, the DDA managed and received revenue from the control of 1,334 downtown parking spaces compared to 1,564 today.

The downtown-parking program is entirely self-sufficient. Revenues derived form the lease of off street parking lots in addition to the income from two of the three parking decks is used to help pay for a downtown parking manager, two full-time employees and two part-time employees. Income from the new Third Avenue deck is designated solely for the purpose of retiring debt on the structure.

The parking program currently has a balance of approximately $96,000 and a portion of those funds are being earmarked to pay for what would amount to an addendum to the last parking study that was conducted for the downtown district.

Arnold said the downtown community is getting excited about a couple of events scheduled for Saturday, May 22. An Art and History Walk will take place all day while first-ever tours of Underground Rome are set for 5 p.m. and 7 p.m. on that date.

Several buildings in the 100, 200 and 300 blocks of Broad Street will open up basements, which used to be first floors before the level of Broad Street was raised more than a century ago to combat flooding. The Rome Area History Museum, Johnnys New York Style Pizza, Harvest Moon Café, Pullens Ordinary Bicycles and the Curry building will all reveal their original first floors.

There will be a $10 admission charge and participants must be at least 12 years of age to participate. To make reservations for either tour, call 706-235-8051.

Arnold said that downtown businesses already have their eyes set on June 12 when Rome will host the Georgia Cup criterium bicycle races downtown along with the vintage car cruise-in of the summer.
Romes Downtown Development Authority
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