Council Approves Parking Pilot with Changes for Downtown Noblesville

10/15/2019

 Parking Map

The Noblesville Common Council unanimously approved a new parking pilot program at its October 15 meeting that simplifies the parking ordinance – including adjusting hours of enforcement, location of free and time-restricted spaces and adding new short duration spots. The parking changes in downtown Noblesville will begin on January 1, 2020.

“These changes – many of which were suggested by downtown merchants – move the city closer to a better parking strategy as supported by the Parking Study data – and allows for a one-year ‘pilot’ to study the impact of these changes in order to set a permanent strategy after the Levinson parking garage opens in late 2020,” Mayor John Ditslear said.

The current parking ordinance has been in existence since 1989 when there was no Hamilton County Judicial Center downtown and the city’s population was one-third of today’s size.

“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 will benefit the majority of those who depend on parking in downtown,” said Noblesville Police Chief Kevin Jowitt, who presented the proposal at the September 10 council meeting and also led the public meeting at City Hall on October 1.

 Downtown parking will be separated into three locations: paid parking lots, free on-street spaces and two consecutive hours of free parking per day in the new tic-tac-toe board or hashtag area (the Downtown Square and one block away in each direction).

By capping it as two consecutive hours per day, the hashtag area encourages turnover of parking and prevents drivers from moving their cars from space to space every two hours in this zone. This zone will 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. “By shrinking the area for two consecutive hour parking, the city has created 250-300 spaces of free parking and more unrestricted parking available all day.”

The city also is creating new 20-minute spaces on Logan, Conner and Ninth streets and Maple Avenue, 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. 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.

“Less than 500 feet from every downtown business, there will be free parking available all day,” said Bob DuBois, Noblesville Chamber of Commerce president and leader of the parking task force. Drivers may also utilize all parking lots and city/county employee lots for free after 5 p.m. weekdays and on weekends and holidays.”

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.

Throughout 2020, the police department will collect data and monitor the impact of these changes before a more permanent solution is put into place in 2021. First-time offenders will be given a warning with an information pamphlet about available parking in downtown rather than a ticket. Additional communication about the changes and installation of the new parking kiosks in the lots will be made to inform the public before January’s changes begin.

The downtown parking pilot is the latest enhancement the city has made to the downtown area. Administration and the council have invested millions of dollars through improvements to streets, sidewalks and other infrastructure and quality of life enhancements; daily maintenance by the Noblesville Street Department with snow removal services to begin this winter; downtown façade grant program; a streetscape master plan for long-range improvements; and the Levinson parking garage set to open late 2020.