The owner of an iconic dive bar in Castleberry Hill is fired up at the prospect of having parking meters installed in front of his 13-year-old business.
Mike Jakob, who owns Elliott Street Deli and Pub, recently noticed officials from the City of Atlanta’s Department of Public Works and the city’s independent parking enforcement agency ATLPlus walking up and down his street, maps in hand, he told Curbed Atlanta.
He said he was told parking meters could be installed later this month on the sidewalks in front of and across the street from his bar, which is the only business on the tiny street, next to Atlanta Fire Department Station 1.
In emails exchanged between city officials and neighborhood leaders that were obtained by Curbed, Jeshau Pringle, an analyst with the City of Atlanta’s public works department, detailed plans to create metered parking along Elliott Street, as well as elsewhere in Castleberry Hill.
Jakob said he was not part of these discussions, and in an email he sent to city leaders, such as City Councilwoman Cleta Winslow and Council President Felicia Moore, he said he feels the move is “a direct attack on a small business.”
Jakob said he understands the city is within its rights to allow ATLPlus to install parking meters where it deems fit. “I don’t think parking should be free,” he said. “But you should definitely do your due diligence with the property managers and business owners nearby to find out how it affects them.”
He said he wouldn’t be totally opposed to a compromise where he got to keep control of some of the spots in front of his building. “I was mainly concerned about my employees’ parking, and we have bands play here.”
Jakob added there are better places in Atlanta to create metered parking, and ATLPlus could be trying to capitalize on his bar’s proximity to the Mercedes-Benz Stadium and State Farm Arena.
“Why not Grant Park or Zoo Atlanta? How about Buckhead? Top Golf?” he asked.
Jakob also worried that installing meter boxes on the thin sidewalks lining Elliott Street could make them inaccessible to people with disabilities.
“It’ll definitely inhibit handicap accessibility throughout,” he said.
Additionally, he said he’s told the Department of Public Works, “My street hasn’t been paved in 65 years. Could you pave my street before we start talking about parking?”
ATLPlus deferred Curbed’s request for comment to the city’s public works department, and officials at City Hall have not yet responded to Curbed’s inquiries on the matter.