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Facts About the Parking in Ellicott City

'I thought it valuable to get some correct information into the community' - Steve Lafferty

Planning and Zoning Director of Special Projects Steve Lafferty sent this email to stakeholders regarding the new parking projects coming to the Historic District:

This message is going to you because of the extensive amount of misinformation and misrepresentations that have been distributed about the parking program proposed for downtown Ellicott City.

These are the facts regarding the parking and the contracts:  

  • All of the free parking spaces in the parking lots will remain free.
  • The hours of enforcement are not changing – it is, and will  continue to be, 10am to 6pm daily.
  • The meter fees on lots D and E will increase by $.25. The new hourly rate will be $.50, making the cost  to park ALL day on those lots $4.00.
  • The meter fees on lots B and C will remain at $.50. There is no increase, so the cost to park ALL day on those lots will still be $4.00.
  • On-street parking will cost $1 per hour. If you need less than an hour, you can put in coins for that amount of time.
  • Meter fee increases (Lots D & E and on the street) will NOT go into effect until after  January 1.
  • The time limit on Main Street and Maryland Avenue will remain two hours.
  • There will be a 15 minute grace period for parking on Main Street and Maryland Avenue to allow for quick in and out trips. The grace period is only for those who are parking for 15 minutes or less. The meter must be fed by those who are staying longer.
  • The loading zones will remain the same.
  • Central parking will continue to provide parking enforcement.
  • Parking spaces are being marked on Maryland Avenue and Main Street; this is a change from the current layout where individual spaces are not marked on Main Street.
  • The Streetline parking app will guide people to vacant parking, whether paid or free spaces, and functions like a GPS.
  • No decisions have been made about how to address residential parking. Providing residential parking permits is being discussed and will be discussed with residents later this month.
  • The procurement process for Streetline followed all of the purchasing requirements, including public notice on the County web site, through the State of Maryland and a bidder list of over 6,000 as well as direct email to likely potential bidders.
  • Two bids were received; however, one was received late and was untimely. Neither was from Maryland.
  • The purchase of Duncan meters has been described as costing $250,000 and as $170,000; they cost a little less than $125,000 and will replace meters that are used in the lots.

Thank you.

Pearl October 16, 2012 at 04:19 AM
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Pearl October 16, 2012 at 04:23 AM
Thank you Mr. Steve Lafferty. This is great information. I'm beginning to wonder where some people got their information from. Thank you for the facts.
Dan Jenkins October 16, 2012 at 11:45 AM
Notice that this is framed as a response to misinformation, but this letter does not address central points that have led people to oppose the meters. For example, Duncan may have been paid $125,000 to install the meter boxes, but providing the ongoing meter service will cost hundreds of thousands more over the next few years based on the County's own estimate. Also, while Streetline was the sole bidder that was accepted, this may be because no one else offers the frivolous bells-and-whistles plan that requires sensors to be buried in the concrete. This raises the question as to whether the County tailored the project advertisement so that only Streetline could bid on it. No comment is made about this, though this has been a central question posed to the County Council for some time. Note, too, that this letter makes it seem like putting new meters (where there were no meters before) is just fine -- hence the reference to it is worked in with no great fanfare as bullet point #5. Not least of all, no consideration has been given to residents. That might have been first on the agenda for an administration thinking of requiring residents to pay to park. It seems as if this is an afterthought. Far from being a clarifying letter, this leaves so much unanswered and further obfuscates the nuances of an already troublingly complex issue.
wordbones October 16, 2012 at 02:49 PM
Dan, What you see as a "frivolous bells-and-whistles plan" others see as an innovative solution to a long standing problem; matching available spaces with drivers looking for them. Residents (and anyone else for that matter) will still be able to park free between 6 PM and 10 AM. That seems to be a reasonable accommodation between residents, patrons and shop owners. -wb
Barb L October 16, 2012 at 05:31 PM
Thank you, Mr. Lafferty and EC Patch, for getting us the facts.
FRANCIS October 16, 2012 at 10:32 PM
Unfortunately, some merchants and residents are not open to really looking at the facts. There is no hardship for employees and residents to park in the free spaces and allow the visitors to have access to preferred parking in order to patronize the businesses that so desperately need customers. As for the residents, anyone who lives in a "city" environment should not expect easy access to parking. Parking is free between 6pm and 10 am, which is more generous than in most city areas. The comment about potential bidders not offering the same product as Streetline is just plain incorrect- a short search would give you an entire industry with such capabilities. Perhaps they were simply not interested in such a minimal size project such as this one.
djp952 October 22, 2012 at 04:45 PM
Keep Maryland money in Maryland! Isn't that the latest craze? Good for the goose not so much for the gander, eh? I'm still curious what even precipitated all this. How did it come about? Did anyone in Elliott City ask for it or was this a concoction by the county again? Smells iffy to me!!
john stephens October 22, 2012 at 09:10 PM
the first statement on Add'l Info sheet (placed in my mailbox, did a postal employee do this ?) states : ALL OF THE FREE PARKING SPOTS IN THE PARKING LOTS WILL REMAIN FREE Why then are they working in LOT F behind the wine bin tomorrow and wednesday ?
john stephens October 22, 2012 at 09:12 PM
what "cities" do you compare this to, Francis. Washington DC ? Baltimore ?
Peter Edelen October 22, 2012 at 11:10 PM
Hi John, they are putting sensors, not meters, in all the free parking spots for their parking application that you can use on the website or mobile app to find available parking. Myself and another resident distributed those flyers, the county letter, and additional info to all the mailboxes on Saturday to make everyone aware of the residents meeting on Monday, the 29th, since not everyone received the letter from the county.
Peter Edelen October 28, 2012 at 04:41 PM
This residents meeting has been postponed until a later date due to the inclement weather. I will update the posted signs on Main Street when new info is available and replace the ones that were torn down.
Brandie Jefferson October 28, 2012 at 04:43 PM
You're good, Peter. Thanks!
Peter Edelen November 02, 2012 at 07:14 PM
The residents meeting has been rescheduled for Tuesday November 27th, 6:30pm at new NEC building at St. Pauls Church, per an e-mail from Steve Lafferty this morning.

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