With budget season approaching, Milton Town Council members have been tasked with determining priorities and coming up with strategic thinking for enacting fixes to improve parking.
In December, an ad hoc committee on parking released a report with short-, intermediate- and long-term goals for parking downtown. That report was also examined by the streets and sidewalks committee before it was forwarded to town council to accept its recommendations, which council did July 3 by unanimous vote.
Several of the short-term recommendations have already been accomplished or are in progress, such as better signage, enforcing two-hour parking limits, repainting parking spaces on side streets such as Broad Street, creating a parking map and leasing the lot adjacent to the fire hall from the Milton Fire Department.
Even some of the report’s intermediate goals have been met, such as installing kiosks highlighting parking spaces and places of interest, and having more handicapped spots around the town center.
Still, there are plenty of items on the list, and Mayor John Collier tasked council with coming up with ideas and items from the report for discussion during the budget planning period, which is generally August and September; the town’s fiscal year begins Oct. 1, so the budget needs to be in place by Sept. 30. Collier said those ideas will need to be hashed out by town staff to determine costs and how projects would progress. He said some of the recommendations involve parking on residential streets, so the town will need to do some kind of public outreach.
“We’ll at least make an effort to investigate. It doesn’t guarantee that any of them will get done, but we’ll take a look into it and see what it will cost,” Collier said.
Councilwoman Lee Revis-Plank, who chaired the original ad hoc committee, said it would behoove the council to take a longer look at long-term recommendations, such as investigating the building of a parking garage, to do some strategic planning. She said investigating these possibilities and seeking help will not hurt the town and will not tie the town to anything, but it could at least determine if such a thing is possible.
“I think this is important, and I think from a strategic point of view, we need to get ahead of the ball,” Revis-Plank said.