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Does Downtown Norcross Need More Parking?

The city council has been debating the issue of adding parking spaces to Wingo Street and city hall for months now.

For some city meetings now, the Norcross City Council has debated and considered the issue of adding parking spaces downtown. At the latest , the proposal came up again, specifically for Wingo Street and Norcross City Hall.

As shown in the images posted, a string of 22 parking spots would be created along the railroad tracks across 60 Wingo Street, and the parking lot to the left of city hall would be reconstructed and leveled so that it could hold 18 total spots instead of its current seven spaces.

"This is just another way to add more parking space [and] increase connectivity," said Kaul. "It's safe, and it stops the traffic flow."

Do you think the city of Norcross needs more parking spaces? Tell us in the comments.

Spearheaded by Councilman Ross Kaul, who announced last week, believes that the city should act upon adding the spaces now.

He reasoned that as the city develops the ideas in the updated Livable Centers Initiative, which is now completed and on the agenda for the upcoming September city council meeting, the city is going to need more parking.

If these parking lots are constructed soon, the city could avoid the parking solution mapped out in the LCI study: a parking deck stretching from to Wingo Street.

Some of the councilmen raised concerns on if the project is worth it. According to the policy work session agenda, the construction of the Wingo Street parking lot would be $9,670 and $28,100 for city hall's lot.

Another major concern was the demolition of old trees. There would be at least nine old magnolia trees that would have to be taken down in order to build the parking lots, according to Councilman Charlie Riehm.

Kaul said he spoke with the city's Public Works and Utilities department and they said the trees would be able to be moved. Each tree would cost $650 if it's relocated, though, and it only has a 50 percent chance of survival.

Downtown areas that have lost trees, such as Thrasher Park, could benefit from this, Kaul suggested.

Riehm still didn't agree with the parking proposal.

"Moving the trees makes no sense," said Charlie Riehm. "The point is to save those trees and preserve the visual ambience of the [area]."

Riehm also reiterated that the LCI study does not state that adding parking is a critical need for Norcross right now.

Additionally, there's also a proposal to turn the gravel lot along North Peachtree and Holcomb Bridge Road into a paved parking lot, which would hold 48 spaces. Councilmembers noted, though, that visitors are already using that lot, so converting it from gravel to pavement wouldn't truly change anything.

The Norcross Station Cafe's lease on its parking lot will expire soon, so it could possibly be converted to general parking for the city.

Mayor Bucky Johnson pointed out that 3,800 people work in the city of Norcross, and because downtown has so many restaurants now, parking can be difficult during lunch and dinner time.

But Councilman Andrew Hixson, who's also running for a third term on the council, reasoned that people who come to Norcross aren't going to go somewhere else just because they can't find a parking spot right next to their destination.

"If I'm investing the time to go to downtown Norcross, and I have an hour for lunch, I'm not leaving downtown Norcross because I can't find a parking spot," he reasoned. "I'm finding a parking spot."

At the end of the policy work session, the mayor asked that the parking spaces for Wingo and city hall should be considered as separate proposals for the September city council meeting. The only parking item listed on the September agenda is for city hall, though, not Wingo Street.

Do you think adding spaces to Wingo Street and City Hall is a good decision for the city of Norcross? Tell us in the comments.

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Sally Toole August 29, 2012 at 10:59 AM
Moving trees would likely kill them- that makes me sad... why haven't spots been marked in the old 54 building space? Eliminate the drive through area for utility billing drop off- would that free up any space? The council wants to spend 20,000 on a new sign but not on parking?
Neva Spell August 29, 2012 at 05:16 PM
Here's the problem in a nutshell, please listen. If we can exchange employee parking for customer paid parking we would answer the problem but, employees insist on consuming the parking that paid customers should occupy. Short of installing parking meters, maybe we should think about moving employees away from customer parking, which should solve a lot of the overcrowding. And, yes, customers do leave town when they cannot find a convenient parking space and sometimes never return. We're losing business over that. Lets look at each space like a restaurant and think it through. If someone comes in your establishment to eat and they sit there all day long, do you make enough money to justify their squatting? No. Same idea should be considered for parking. Or, if someone comes into your coffee shop and drinks 1 cup of coffee and sits there for hours, what are they thinking? And, how much $$$ would you make per hour off that customer. Not much, if any at all. Where is our business sense? If you haven't owned a business in the Downtown area lets be careful about assuming anything, period. Its all about numbers of people that actually spend money or we're out of business. Customers want convenience and employees need to be controlled by their manager/owner. I agree lets leave the trees. CHEERS:-}
good neighbor August 29, 2012 at 11:33 PM
Please leave the trees and maintain our quaint town. I am relative of a previous business owner in downtown Norcross. It is important to survey an area BEFORE renting or buying space for a business; manage your expectations of the area. The Prado in Midtown has preserved its ambiance by keeping cut through traffic out during rush hour. I, for one, and tired of being blown at by strangers and impatient neighbors as I turn into my driveway. Let's get a grip.
Terry Bowie September 03, 2012 at 05:10 PM
After three studies paid for by taxpayers, each one said parking was adequate. Let's quit wasting taxpayer money. Businesses should get together and help solve their own problems (have your employees park in an alternate location). You really have a parking problem, when you have a lot of empty parking spots. Same as traffic, no traffic is really a problem.

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