Do You Want to See a Metered Main Street?
A new program is bringing paid parking downtown.
Free parking on Main Street may soon be a thing of the past.
County officials said Tuesday night that they hope to have a parking program up and running by September that would include the installation of parking meters on Main Street and Maryland Avenue.
The program was unveiled at a meeting Tuesday night on the future of downtown Ellicott City.
Parking meters were on display, along with parking signs, maps and cardboard diagrams to showcase the ways downtown Ellicott City would be changing to make it, as County Executive Ken Ulman contended, “stronger and better able to continue to thrive for the next generation and beyond.”
Representatives from different county offices were at the George Howard Building to answer questions about several of the different projects in the works.
But most people were talking about parking.
“Most successful places, you always pay for parking,” Nancy Gibson, owner of The Forget-Me-Not Factory at 8044 Main St. said.
Other meeting attendees, however, expressed concern about the aesthetic impact, the cost and how more paid parking would affect visitors’ propensities to shop in the Historic District, recently named a Great Day Trip by the Washingtonian.
“I’m not naive to know that any change in parking may make some people happy and some people unhappy,” Ulman said to a crowd of about 75 business owners, residents and other interested stakeholders at Tuesday night’s meeting.
In addition to adding more paid spots, the new parking program would include a mobile application that is supposed to give users information about where available spots are in the historic district via information from sensors installed in and above the ground.
Not all parameters have been decided.
“How much is it going to cost to park – and is the revenue slated to go toward Ellicott City?” was a question on everyone’s mind.
The price hasn’t yet been determined, said Diane Schwarzman, chief of the traffic engineering division for Howard County. That issue will be on the agenda for the County Council’s Sept. 3 public hearing. It wasn’t likely, however, that there would be any revenue to funnel toward Main Street, she added.
“Basically, we’re looking at paying the cost of maintenance.”
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