By BROOKE WANSER
A resolution that will shorten parking time limits in downtown Franklin from four to two hours, and increase fines, was passed with little fanfare Tuesday by the Board of Mayor and Aldermen.
After much prior debate, the board spent less than ten minutes debating two resolutions that update the city’s parking ordinance.
In the first vote, parking citation fees were updated from $10 to $20 for a first offense, and from $25 to $30 for a second offense, with additional citation fees of $50 accumulating over a 12-month period.
The resolution also erased previous language that allowed officers to give a courtesy warning before issuing a citation.
At-large Alderman Brandy Blanton brought up the issue of holidays; after brief discussion, the board agreed the parking limits would not apply on city-recognized holidays.
The resolution’s passage reflects the city’s struggle to deal with an onslaught of parking and traffic congestion in the past few years.
The changes were recommended last fall after a study revealed the vast majority of downtown parkers stay for two hours or less.
On Main Street, 55.8 percent of people parked for one hour, while 63 percent of people parking downtown stayed in spaces for less than two hours.
Still, Ward 2 Alderman Dana McLendon voted against both measures. In previous meetings, he he argued that changing the parking limits will merely cause people to shuffle around and look for a new spot after two hours, causing further congestion.
Blanton joined McLendon in dissenting on the parking time limit, as the board voted 6-2 in favor of the measure.
The city needs to create new signage to replace the existing ones. No information has been released yet on when the parking limit change will take effect.