Residents, visitors and downtown businesses have long been saying that paid parking downtown is discouraging business, and have suggested free parking on Saturdays, or even daily for the first two hours.
A consultant’s report has recommended further study on free parking, and made a number of other observations and recommendations for parking downtown including:
- There’s currently a surplus of parking, but when planned projects are built there will be a need for 471 more spaces.
- Municipal Lot 4 on Elizabeth St. is the preferred location for a new parking structure.
- Current visitor parking requirements for residential developments should be reviewed, given the oft heard concern that visitor parking is either non-existent or insufficient.
- Coin parking meters should be replaced with credit or cash pay-and-display machines.
The report, and staff recommendations from it, will be considered at committee on Wednesday. The staff report here, Appendix A, Appendix B, Appendix C asks council to approve Phase II of the parking study, which will consider the financial implications of the recommended options, and report back by mid-2012.
My Take: I support many of the options outlined in the consultant’s report, and think we’ve got to get on with developing a financial and implementation strategy to address the concerns about current paid parking raised by the public and various stakeholders. I’m supportive of continuing Phase II of the study.
Your view: Should the city offer free parking on Saturdays, and take some of the other steps recommended? What would you do to solve the parking challenges downtown? Email me at email@example.com or leave a comment below.