ROSWELL, Ga. — Canton Street visitors parking at the corner of Canton Street and Elizabeth Way will soon have to pay a fee.
The Roswell City Council unanimously approved a parking fee schedule for the spaces, similar to the existing fee schedule for East Alley, along with the installation of a parking kiosk and smartphone app. Handicap spaces are excluded.
The Aug. 12 City Council meeting was the first without Sean Groer, who stepped down from his Post 3 seat after his family moved to Chattanooga, Tenn.
Parking on Canton Street has been a hot issue that has plagued the city for decades, and in the past couple of years, people have become more vocal about it.
After the new mayor and City Council was elected at the end of 2017, reenergized citizen groups once again pushed for better parking along Canton Street. The Historic Roswell Business Association led the charge and urged the City Council consider several options, including a parking deck.
The city has since made strides to improve the parking situation. In 2018, the city leased three parking lots: the Green Street lot, with 70 spaces, Harlow lot on the corner of Canton and Norcross Street, with 84 spaces on nights and weekends, and the Methodist Church lot on Magnolia Street, with 92 spaces on Friday and Saturday nights. It has also created a Rideshare space on Canton Street.
Transportation Director Muhammad Rauf said Canton Street business owners are still having issues with parking, citing turnover rates as the chief concern. People were taking the prime parking spaces for several hours at a time, preventing others from parking and impacting Canton Street businesses, he said.
The idea behind metered parking is to free up the spaces more often and drive more business.
The parking kiosk, the same at East Alley, cost the city $8,100 to install and will incur a monthly $60-$70 fee to maintain. There is no cost to initiate the corresponding app, but it does require a three-year contract.
Rauf said the kiosk is expected to be operational within four to six weeks after the City Council’s approval. He added that the city would likely recuperate the kiosk’s installation fee after less than a year of operation.
App users will have to pay a $0.35 convenience fee per transaction. The fee can be avoided if people instead use the kiosk after parking, Rauf said.
Also at the Aug. 12 meeting, the City Council approved the FY 2020 millage rate at 4.955 mills, the same as last year. Each mill represents $1 of tax assessment per $1,000 of assessed property value.
The 3-2 vote, with councilmembers Mike Palermo and Marcelo Zapata opposed, passed after a motion by Zapata to set the millage rate to 4.824 failed with only Palermo in support.