Mixed messages about Juneau parking persist

One of the topics the CBJ assembly discussed during the hour-and-a-half executive session was parking. (Photo by Lisa Phu/KTOO)

One of the topics the CBJ assembly discussed during the hour-and-a-half executive session was parking. (Photo by Lisa Phu/KTOO)

The Juneau Assembly met behind closed doors Monday night to discuss the city’s parking management.

Earlier in the day, City Manager Kim Kiefer gave an update on the situation. “The parking meters as they are right now, people still need to use them as they’re designed to be used,” she said.

The city has had ongoing issues with the current system run by Aparc Parking Solutions. Information from the parking machines weren’t getting accurately communicated to handheld devices used by the Juneau Police Department.

“We are looking at a variety of different options that you look at when you have a system that isn’t functioning the way you want to,” Kiefer said. “So we’re looking at how can it be improved, can it not be improved, what are our other options, and how can we go forward with each one of those, and what makes the most sense for the city long term.

Parking laws and penalties are “for the most part” being enforced. Community service officers are on the lookout, Keifer said.

“They are ticketing now, so don’t think you can run in and park in a loading zone if you’re not loading, or think that you can park in someplace that’s marked for an hour and think you can spend a couple hours there. …So you need to be aware of where you’re parking and look at the signs.”

During the assembly meeting, member Carlton Smith said he’s heard from different people in the community that parking is one of the city’s main problems. Public perception is that the system may be broken, Smith said.

“One comment was made  in this interim period where we have the issue with the existing system  that it might be advisable to make a public announcement that until further notice, all those parking charges are abated, and I know that’s a financial decision, but it’s also a time when people aren’t certain whether the machines are working or not.”

The assembly discussed the issue during executive session. The city has put more than $400,000 into the current parking system.

Also during the hour-and-a-half closed-door session, the assembly discussed the 2012 incident involving a former Juneau teacher accused of assaulting a teenager at an Oregon football camp.

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