As the year draws to a close, New Albany leaders are ready to unveil new parking regulations for more than 450 spaces at Market Square.
Under the new policy, the public-parking spots will be available for a limited amount of time and restricted to those attending special events in the area or patronizing nearby businesses. Signs will include such stipulations as two-hour parking, customer parking only and no student parking, according to the policy.
The signs should be posted in December to communicate the policy for the city-owned, 451-space parking lot behind the Philip Heit Center for Healthy New Albany at 150 W. Main St. and extending up to Mellow Mushroom, 260 Market St., said city spokesman Scott McAfee. The spots from Dr. Jeffrey Angart's dental office, 240B Market St., over to the New Albany branch of the Columbus Metropolitan Library, 200 Market St., are privately owned, he said.
Violators won't be towed but they will be fined $35, McAfee said. The city doesn't plan to enforce the parking changes until the signs are posted, he said.
New Albany City Council members approved a motion regarding the Market Square parking rules earlier this month.
The regulations are the city's way of proactively addressing growth near the Market & Main retail development at Main and Market streets, said City Manager Joe Stefanov.
"Parking hasn't necessarily been an issue in the past but we need to be proactive to ensure ample parking space for the employees and patrons of all the businesses that are either open now or will be open soon," Stefanov said. "That is why we will soon be placing signs in the municipally owned lots reminding motorists that parking is for business employees, patrons and special events."
Students who go to class at the New Albany High School campus across Dublin-Granville Road might be among the motorists affected. The campus is accessible via a leisure trail along the Rose Run creek in addition to the nearby streets.
Although the parking policy doesn't target students specifically, a number of them have been parking in the Market Square lot for the entire day, McAfee said.
"With the addition of all the new businesses that will open in the coming months, parking in this area will be at much more of a premium than in the past," he said.
Superintendent Michael Sawyers said as many as 30 students park in the city-owned spaces on weekdays. He said the practice might be spurred by convenience because students in the city lots would be able to get in and out more quickly than in the school lots.
Students also might want to avoid the $25 parking fees on the district campus, Sawyers said.
More than 200 students can park on the district campus and more than 200 more can park at the Church of the Resurrection, which is across Fodor Road from the high school, he said.
Juniors are able to park at the church with their student parking permits, Sawyers said, and those students' permit fees go to the church.
District leaders will begin communicating with students in December to make them aware of the new parking policies, he said.
High school principal Dwight Carter will send an email to juniors and seniors; campus security officers will hand out flyers to students at the Heit Center in the mornings; and the school resource officer will give out warnings to students prior to the city's placement of the new signs, Sawyers said.