Gretna to seek public input on downtown parking plan

Gretna is looking to balance the parking needs of the businesses and public institutions that call downtown home, with a public meeting to discuss the issue set for 5:30 p.m. Nov. 25 at City Hall.

A consultant, SP Plus Municipal Services of New Orleans, has been surveying the area bounded by First, Fourth, Derbigny and Lafayette streets for a couple of months, and its regional manager, William Foster, told the City Council on Wednesday that the next step is to hear from public and private employers, residents and visitors about their parking needs.

The plan, dubbed Park Gretna, became necessary after rising rates for paid parking downtown led more drivers to park their cars on the street, Gretna Mayor Belinda Constant said.

Foster said the plan will take into account the needs of businesses but will put a priority on customers rather than employees, who have access to more permanent options.

Foster said there are several potential options for paid street parking, including paying by license plate number or installing the multiple-space pay stations common in New Orleans.

He said it is not yet clear how many paid street spaces could be part of the final parking plan, which also will include handicapped spaces, loading zones and pick-up and drop-off areas.

Foster said there is no timetable for completion of the plan, which will be managed by SP Plus when it’s finished.

The firm has contracts with municipalities across the country, most recently Richmond, Va., and Manitou Springs, Colo.