AUBURN — According to a plan presented to City Council Monday, the city would begin labeling downtown lots to better manage parking. 

Police Chief Phil Crowell said his department is now in charge of managing parking downtown, and he unveiled a plan that would shift some permit parking from one lot to another and increase monthly passes from $35 per month to $45.

Crowell said loss of a private Court Street lot, which was converted into a park for Chapman House, and new businesses coming in forced the city to take another look at how it allocates parking.

“It’s had effects all the way around,” he said. “We’ve had requests from the YMCA for additional short-term parking; the function parking needs for the Hilton are a concern. And then we have some proposed changes for parking in the garage.”

Councilors will discuss the matter at their next workshop meeting. Crowell said he’d like to see the parking plan being used by October.

Crowell said part of his work was creating an inventory of off-street parking. Auburn has 1,296 spaces — 260 are privately owned and 1,036 are city owned. Those are leased to some businesses, sold as parking permits or used for police and city vehicles or open public parking.

The plan calls for shifting some of the parking uses around, especially in Great Falls Plaza.

For example, the lot at the northern edge of the plaza is currently reserved for parking for guests of functions at the Hilton Garden Inn. That lot would now become open for free two-hour parking and for people purchasing $10 day passes. Hilton’s function parking would move closer to the hotel, across from the Esplanade apartments.

Parking in the lot alongside Turner Street is currently used for jury parking. The city would install a kiosk there to manage parking in the lot, allowing free use by Superior Court jurors and for people who purchase long-term temporary passes.

Parking in the city’s Mechanics Row garage would shift as well. Police vehicles would take the spaces nearest the ground-floor entrance, reserving the ground-floor spaces near Auburn Hall for free two-hour-parking day pass users.

All day passes and permits would be sold in the Police Department window, instead of the city’s tax office, according to the proposal.

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