Wednesday, 18 August 2010 23:14

Landrieu Keeps Saturday Parking Meters Downtown, French Quarter

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Mitch Landrieu has approved a new Saturday parking plan, on Wednesday which includes keeping parking meters on Saturday's  in the French Quarter and most of downtown New Orleans.
The Saturday parking was an issue during the New Orleans Mayor’s election when Landrieu, then candidate vowed to undo former Mayor Nagin’s Saturday parking policy.  

As published by the Times Picayune, “Before his inauguration, Landrieu said he thinks charging at meters on Saturdays discourages commerce in neighborhoods where parking is at a premium, and he vowed to undo Nagin's policy.
Landrieu’s office issued this statement today relative to the Saturday parking issue:
NEW ORLEANS, LA -- Today, Mayor Mitch Landrieu announced the findings of a review of City parking meter policies.  Saturday parking meter enforcement will continue in high volume commercial zones where metered parking ensures vehicle circulation and customer access to convenient short term parking.  These areas include Magazine Street, Oak Street, Riverbend, the French Quarter, the Warehouse District and the Central Business District riverside of Loyola Avenue.  Effective immediately, all other parking areas in the City will be free on Saturday, notably the Mid City/Hospital Zone area bounded by North of Claiborne Avenue between Canal Street and the Pontchartrain Expressway and the Municipal Zone around City Hall lakeside of Loyola Avenue.  

In the review of parking metering policy, the Mayor’s team researched best practices and consulted with members from the small business community, including representatives from the Magazine Street Merchants Association, French Quarter Business Women’s Network, French Market Corporation, Algiers Economic Development Foundation, Bourbon Business Association and the Downtown Development District. The team found that parking metering on Saturdays can be a valuable tool in New Orleans’ shopping districts that receive heavy traffic on Saturdays because it ensures adequate parking availability for costumers, since parking spots constantly turnover when spaces are metered.

“Upon taking office, I charged a team of City Hall staff to review the City’s parking metering policies to ensure that they align with our goals of promoting adequate parking availability for businesses and their customers, and were not being used solely for generating revenues.  Thoughtful and effective parking management is important to small businesses on our urban corridors,” Landrieu said.

“But we found areas where metered parking on Saturday was unnecessary and an inconvenience and we are re-instating free parking on Saturday’s in these areas,” he added.

“Perhaps most importantly, in our meetings with small business leaders, we heard over and over that their primary concern was with the poor customer service from our parking enforcement officers,” said First Deputy Mayor and CAO Andy Kopplin.  “Many do their jobs very well; but we send the exact wrong message to our residents and our out of town guests when they encounter a parking enforcement officer waiting for the meter to expire with a ticket already written.  That sends the exact wrong message about our city and leaves our small businesses with a negative impression along these important corridors.”

As a result of these findings, the Mayor is directing the Department of Public Works to launch several initiatives to help improve customer service from parking enforcement officers, including:

•    Training for all parking enforcement officers from customer service professionals beginning this fall.
•    Enactment of a parking ambassador program whereby specialized parking enforcement officers will be responsible for providing directions and other information to citizens and visitors in New Orleans.
•    Production of a “Park Smart” brochure with all parking rules, violations, and directions to parking garages.
•    Expansion of a “pay-by-phone” program currently piloted on Magazine Street and in the Riverbend area whereby citizens can pay for street parking spaces by cellular phone.

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