TAPS had another meeting with City staff on Wednesday 3/16. We were given a presentation by the city analyst, entitled " Downtown Parking". It described all of the city-owned downtown parking, including metered spaces and the privately owned parking structures/lots that are in downtown. It described City efforts to inform the public such as the city's "one stop shop" for parking permits, locations of lots, and a new city run parking App to be released sometime this summer. It also described the details of the new street sweeping times and affected streets.
While we applauded the city's efforts and the info shared, we could still see how these particular efforts did little to relieve the parking issues in our area except during those 4 AM street sweeping times. Unfortunately this is partly due to the fact that the city staff is working with what tools they had.
Our parking expert Mike Kodama gave his presentation, going over all the ways a parking study and comprehensive parking plan would benefit the city. Through his research of city documents, facts and figures, Mike deduced that the city has gaping holes in its parking plan. Residents and their visitors are not included in the downtown's plan for parking, nor are employees or business owners. Without including everyone, it won't work. He found a lack of data to support the plan or its parking requirements. He noted a lack of coordination between on-street and off-street parking management, as well as a lack of a central staff position for parking.
We also worked on getting some clarification from the city on who exactly it is that TAPS needs to speak with next to further move our request for a City parking study up the bureaucratic city ladder. We left the meeting hopeful and encouraged that the city sees that hiring an expert to make improvements to the City's parking plan can resolve some of the issues. We remain in positive spirits that this Mayor and Planning commission will see the benefits to funding Mike Kodama's proposed parking study so that the city can move forward in "filling in the holes" on the cities parking plan, using current local data to develop a plan that's effective for our unique area.
Reaching out to City staff has a few more steps before we ask for public involvement.
We have been meeting with area groups and community leaders and will continue to reach out. We are grateful for the City Council candidates who have taken our parking woes seriously enough to talk about them in their campaigns!
We continue to ask for your support in spreading the word about TAPS and what we are doing, as well as Facebooking, tweeting , emailing, calling, blogging to the Mayor and city council members asking them to fund a parking study so we can all begin to fix this problem.