The truth is simple: the need for parking meters is a sign of progress and growth for any thriving downtown area. Thirty-five years ago, parking meters were removed from Downtown Macon simply because there was no parking problem to be managed at the time. After all, Downtown Macon was lifeless; people, residents, lofts and the array of local breweries, restaurants and boutiques we have now did not exist.
The Urban Development Authority, acting as the agent responsible for strengthening the life and economic stability of Macon’s urban core, recognized a problem. We could not expect for Downtown Macon to continue to grow if the consumer base could not grow along with it. Parking, or lack thereof, was the largest factor inhibiting business growth in Macon’s metro area.
In May 2018, the UDA assisted in implementing a PARK Macon-Bibb program designed to balance the parking needs of the community at the dynamic intersection of Downtown Macon businesses, restaurants, employees, visitors and residents.
Of nearly 1,250 on-street parking spaces, UDA has successfully installed 900 parking meters in Downtown Macon. The PARK Macon-Bibb ambassadors have been enforcing parking regulations since the start of July, and the results are shown through the increase in business.
Consensus among the business sector is parking meters have been a solution, not an added problem. Meters have helped manage growth and eliminate obstacles for progress. Streets that were once filled with resident and employee vehicles are now being fully utilized by paying customers. You no longer see the same car occupy a space for hours on end.
The installation process took nearly three weeks and cost the UDA $850,000 to Lanier Parking Meter Services, LLP. All initial revenue from the meters is being spent towards paying for the system. Ideally, once the payment is complete, revenue would be put towards funding other promising downtown projects. Look for promising future updates on Downtown Macon parking from your UDA soon.