Downtown parking enforcement resumes June 22
Parking enforcement in downtown Great Falls will resume June 22.
The meters will not be returned yet, so for now, parking remains free at metered spots, but the two hour time limit will be enforced and the normal fine structure for time violations will remain in place.
Enforcement of other violations also remain in place, such as taking up two spaces.
Parking board votes to resume two-hour enforcement downtown
On June 16, City Manager Greg Doyon signed an executive order amending his March ordered that suspended downtown parking meter enforcement during the COVID-19 pandemic to support restaurants and businesses that shifted to takeout and curbside operations while indoor dining was closed.
Also in March, someone broke into the parking office and stole keys to the meters, as well as keys to a truck used by the city parking program.
Parking meter heads removed due to break-in at city parking office; theft of meter keys
It’s unlikely the suspects knew what they had with the meter key, but as a precaution, parking staff collected all the money from the meters, then removed the meter heads to prevent any additional issues.
City staff and the city’s parking contractor exhausted their options to rekey the meters and determined it couldn’t be done, so the meter head shells would have to be replaced at an estimated $125,000. That is not in the plans for now but the meter key theft has lead to renewed discussion of whether the city wants to reinstall the same old meters, replace them with new modern meters or no meters with a different enforcement model entirely.
March 19 COVID-19 updates: health officer orders restrictions on bars, restaurants, bowling alleys, etc.; city declaring sate of emergency; changes at city attorneys office, animal shelter and Municipal Court; downtown metered parking enforcement suspended; Lewis and Clark Trail Mixer postponed; GFCMSU changing access, operations
During the May 21 Parking Advisory Commission meeting, the group voted to restore enforcement of the two-hour time limit.
City considering 1-year contract extension for parking contractor as it considers long-term lease option
Members of the PAC and city staff said they had been fielding complains from business owners about construction workers, downtown employees and residents parking in front of their shops or restaurants all day, taking up spaces for their customers, as the downtown was reopening under Phase 1 and preparing for Phase 2.
To restore enforcement, the city had to make and install new signs indicating the two hour limit since before, the notice was on the meter heads. Those signs have been installed downtown.
Garage and surface lot operations remain unchanged.