Thursday, September 27, 2012

100 Block Update- September 27, 2012

Please remember that the multimeters will be activated on Oct. 1, 2012 and KPD will begin enforcement on that date. The current hours of operation for the multimeters will be 8:00am to 6:00pm Monday through Friday. We have been placing pamphlets on vehicles informing folks of this timing for the last week or so and we also plan to send another media advisory. The new meters will accept coin, bills, or credit cards and the cost will be $1 per hour with a two hour maximum. New signs have been placed on the block directing parkers to the meters which are located mid block.

The new meter is really very simple to use. For now we are using the pay and display option which means you simply pay at the meter and place your receipt on the dash of your vehicle. Because of the location of the meter near the Sterchi Building, we will have to move one of the benches to a new location and plan to also move around some of the benches on the west side of the street. Several of the benches had to be relocated from the locations shown on the our original plans due to utility relocation so we have asked the 100 Block Association to help us in determine the best relocation sites.

Other items of interest in the 100 Block of S. Gay Street area include the screening of the central garbage area which was created in a parking space on the 200 Block of S. Gay Street. We are getting estimates with the idea being that we would like to go for a similar look to the screening we have created by the State Street Garage.

The City of Knoxville, in conjunction with the Public Art Committee and the Arts and Culture Alliance, is continuing to plan improvements for the area around the Treble Clef. We would love to find the means to have a very meaningful art piece placed here along with other enhancements for the area.

The Engineering Department has notified me that our paving contractor plans to repave Summit Hill beginning this weekend so expect some delays and lane closures there.

We continue to discuss the panhandling issues here and plan to organize a joint meeting very soon with all the various Downtown Associations and the Cumberland Avenue Merchants Association to plan a coordinated method for making folks aware of the various regulations and impacts and to have a unified strategy going forward. As many of you know I attend most of these meetings and hear the same issues and ideas over and over. I believe the Cumberland Avenue Merchants Association has developed the most organized strategy thus far so I would like to try to get everyone together to begin a similar implementation strategy if possible.

Lastly, many events are planned for next weekend including the Hola Festival on Saturday October 6, 2012
(  which will be held on Depot Street again this year and also First Friday on October 5, 2012. I look forward to seeing all of you there.
Thanks for your interest in the 100 Block of S. Gay Street and in Downtown Knoxville.

Friday, September 14, 2012

New Multimeters on the 100 Block of S. Gay Street

I hope all is well with everyone and we thank you for your continued support and interest in the 100 Block of S. Gay Street. It has been a long while since I have posted anything on this blog since others have taken up the mantle here. The 100 Block Association has done a good job of disseminating information both on Facebook and Twitter and also using other forms of communication. I thought it might be good, however, to post this information concerning one item left over from the 100 Block construction and that is the installation of the new Multimeters. (See picture below)
Ideally, these would have been installed immediately at the end of construction since they were to be purchased to replace the much older meters there that had been experiencing maintenance issues for a while. These two meters are now replacing as many as 27 of the 15-year-old meters. Since we were delayed in the purchase for a variety of reasons, the technology has improved but so did the cost. When we made that decision (2008), the cost of new single meters including installation, etc.was around $1000 each so it was very cost effective to go with this newer technology. While this is new to Knoxville, many of our sister cities have been using this technology for years. It reduces street clutter and gives more options as far as pricing, payment, and messaging, and cuts down on maintenance costs. There has been some confusion, I think, about the hours of operation and pricing. We plan to charge $1 an hour with a two hour maximum. This decision was a result of much discussion in the last few years with business and property owners, including the 100 Block Association, expressing concern with parking availability for customers on the block. The thought was that the most convenient short term parking should have a higher rate and a time limit and we have operated on that premise in our decision making. We continue to hear that same thought from others downtown as well but we have made the 100 Block our ideal street area for these types of innovations. We have been asked about nights and weekends and that policy has been mainly in effect for the garages with certain metered spaces being subject to enforcement. For instance, at the request of the 100 Block Association we have designated two meters on the Gay Street Viaduct as 15 minute only with no free designation. The signage on the multimeters will let motorists know when they must pay to use the meters and we will continue to monitor their enforcement especially all along Gay Street. These parking spaces are not available for the Residential Parking permit process and were not previously signed for that purpose prior to construction. Other spaces on both the Gay Street Viaduct and in the O.P. Jenkins area parking lot are signed for that use. I would encourage downtown residents to check out that program for reduced parking rates. Also the City has the Jackson Avenue Parking Lot very close to the 100 Block which is also $1 an hour and $40 for a monthly pass. Incidentally the multimeter there is almost identical to the new ones we just installed. We are currently working on flyers to use on the 100 Block to let folks know of the change in parking. Enforcement will begin on October 1, 2012. Thanks for your interest in Downtown Knoxville