Committee calls for private parking agreement

BY PHIL CUSTODIO
Clarkston News Editor
Parking is hard to come by when Clarkston’s Main Street is hopping, with potential patrons circling downtown desperately searching for spots.
More paid parking and agreements with private parking lot owners would help, according to the city Parking Management Committee.
Committee members Anne Clifton, Erich Lines, Joe Luginski, and Scott Reynolds presented their recommendations for parking, June 17. They found the private parking lots on Depot Road by the Clarkston Mills, owned by Washington Management, to be “critically important for the long term health of this community.”
A proposed 10-year agreement with the lot owners would include the city installing signs and parking for two hard-wired pay-to-park kiosks, and parking enforcement service.
In return, the lot owner would provide free parking during city free-parking events, maintain the same pay-to-park hours as the city, align its pay-to-park mobile app and payment system with the city’s, plow and maintain the lots, and grant the city first right of refusal should the lots come up for sale.
“I support this plan whole heartedly,” said Mayor Eric Haven in an email to the community.
The long-term agreement would be consistent with city planner Carlisle Wortman’s parking study, while keeping Main Street free of paid parking, create parity and trust between the city and Washington Management to keep all lots open by contract, contribute non-tax revenue with token cost to visitors, help fund infrastructure and way-finding improvements, create a controllable system by altering days, hours, and rates as needed, Wifi and smartphone accessibility,and ease the need for the city to build more parking lots, Haven said.
Committee recommendations also include converting the municipal parking lot on Depot Road from free to paid parking; negotiate with the property owner to add a handicap parking space at 5 S. Main Street, home of the Clarkston News, and another on E. Washington Street near downtown; and eliminate the parking deferment ordinance, which has not been enforced.
Current city ordinances require new buildings, and those changed or expanded, to provide parking based on use and square footage. However, the ordinance allows the city to collect payment in lieu of parking spaces in the parking deferment zone, which encompasses the business district from just north of Washington Street to Waldon Road.
Ideas for the east side of the city include resident-only parking east of Buffalo on Washington, which is a dead-end road; no parking on Buffalo between Church and Waldon; and parking on the south side of Church between Buffalo and the bridge.
Suggestions also included way-finding signs for parking in Depot Road lots and creating a new parking lot for employees to the south of city hall in Depot Park, which is potentially phase two of the city hall reconstruction project currently underway.
Applying city zoning ordinances for parking, Clarkston needs 882 parking spaces, but has 635 spaces on city and privately owned lots, for a shortfall of 247 spaces during peak parking times, according to a October 2018 city parking study.