City Proposes Parking Pilot with Changes for Downtown Noblesville

09/12/2019

 Parking Map

Minor changes could be ahead for parking in downtown Noblesville. At the September 10 council meeting, Noblesville Police Chief Kevin Jowitt presented a proposal for a new parking pilot program that would change and simplify the parking ordinance, which includes adjusting hours of enforcement, location of free and time-restricted spaces and adding new short duration spots.

“When it comes to parking in our historic downtown, there is no magic solution that addresses everyone’s needs because each driver and business has different requirements. We tried to create a scenario that works for the largest number of people and I believe this plan achieves that goal by incorporating feedback from the downtown merchants,” Jowitt said.

Jowitt said the current parking ordinance has been in existence since 1989 when there was no Hamilton County Judicial Center downtown, the city’s population was one-third of today’s size and the number and occupancy of the downtown businesses was considerably different.

Downtown parking will be separated into three locations: paid parking lots, free on-street spaces and the new tic-tac-toe board or hashtag area (yellow zone on the map) that includes the Downtown Square and one block away in each direction for two consecutive hours of free parking per day. By capping it as two consecutive hours, the hashtag area encourages turnover of parking as supported by data collected in the Downtown Parking Study. It also prevents drivers from moving their cars from space to space every two hours in this zone. This zone would be enforced from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays – a change from the previous start time of 8 a.m.

“When you pull into a space, the clock starts. The time expires in two hours whether you are in that area or not. If you exceed two hours in the hashtag area, that will be a violation and you will get a ticket,” Jowitt said.

The city also is creating new 20-minute spaces on Logan, Conner and Ninth streets for quick stops, which will not count toward a driver’s two consecutive hours. The purpose of these spaces are for those that make short, quick stops to run in, grab something and leave the two-hour zone. These spaces will be conveniently located and drivers may use the designated spots multiple times throughout the day.

“I think this is a pretty good compromise – there’s something for everybody. I don’t think we can present a better plan at this time than what is being proposed to us,” said Common Council Member Rick Taylor, who also serves on the parking task force.

Drivers who intend to stay longer than two hours in a single day should park in the lots or on the streets that have no time restrictions (blue zone on the map). By shrinking the current two-hour restricted parking area, it has added 250-300 free on-street parking spaces that are available all day. Less than 500 feet from every downtown business, there will be free parking available all day.

“This is a solution that was generated from listening to all of the public feedback we’ve done the past few years,” said Bob DuBois, Noblesville Chamber of Commerce president and leader of the parking task force. “This is the right time for a phased-in pilot program. We’re going to collect data from the new technology built into the kiosks and license plate reader that we can make really smart decisions going forward.”

Other parking changes include the Noblesville City Hall lot becoming free, unrestricted parking available all day. New parking lot signs and banners will be placed on street poles to identify parking areas. The Purple lot on Eighth Street and on-street parking on Clinton Street (between Eighth and Ninth streets) will remain permit only.

“We also want to remind drivers that all parking lots and city/county employee lots are available for free to the public after 5 p.m. weekdays and on weekends and holidays,” said Mayor John Ditslear.

The city will host a public meeting on Tuesday, October 1 at City Hall to discuss the proposal and answer questions. The ordinance will not be back before the Noblesville Common Council until its October 15 meeting. If approved, the new parking changes would begin January 1, 2020.

“While we realize change can be scary, the city will use 2020 as a one-year ‘pilot’ to study the impact of these changes in order to set a permanent strategy after the Levinson parking garage opens,” Ditslear said.