In an attempt to address potential issues before they become major problems, the Mt. Airy Business Improvement District (BID) will host a public forum to talk about parking along the 6700 and 6800 blocks of Germantown Avenue.
The meeting will be held at The Gathering Place, 6755 Germantown Avenue, on May 14 at 7 p.m.
Parking congestion is an issue up and down the commercial corridor, but challenges in the middle of Mt. Airy are now becoming more prominent, said BID’s executive director, Hollie Malamud-Price.
The forum will enable business tenants, property owners and residents to come together to discuss concerns about parking along the avenue between Gorgas Lane and Phil Ellena Street.
The chief question that will be asked is whether or not it is appropriate to have time limits on parking in that area, which is mostly free from restrictions.
The blocks in question consist of a near even mix of retail and service businesses. Several retailers have expressed to BID that setting hourly limits on parking would be beneficial to their businesses. Allowing greater turnover would serve their patrons better. A one-hour limit is currently in place on the east side of Germantown Avenue between Gorgas Lane and Meehan Street.
Most of the west side of the 6700 block, from 6742 to 6776, is residential. These houses have parking space available in the rear, accessible by a small alley. If time restrictions, such as a two hour limit, on parking are imposed, residents may need to pony up $35 per vehicle with $20 for annual renewal for residential parking permits if they wish to park on Germantown Avenue in front of their homes.
Currently, there are a number of vacancies on the two blocks. BID hopes the forum will get the ball rolling on addressing parking issues before they impact negatively on the neighborhood. The fear is that commercial success in the middle part of the corridor may be stifled because of a lack of parking availability for customers.
In 2009, BID negotiated a deal with NewCourtland for the use of 50 parking spaces on its Germantown Home campus. Parking on the lot, situated on Carpenter Lane behind the fire station, is free to the public from 4:30 p.m. to 10 p.m. during the week, and from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday.
“It’s all a part of improving the business district, figuring out what folks need and finding solutions,” said Malamud-Price.